What is Research? - Purpose of Research (2023)

Summary

The purpose of research is to enhance society by advancing knowledge through the development of scientific theories, concepts and ideas. A research purpose is met through forming hypotheses, collecting data, analysing results, forming conclusions, implementing findings into real-life applications and forming new research questions.

What is Research

Simply put, research is the process of discovering new knowledge. This knowledge can be either the development of new concepts or the advancement of existing knowledge and theories, leading to a new understanding that was not previously known.

As a more formal definition of research, the following has been extracted from the Code of Federal Regulations:

“Research is a systematic investigation (i.e. the gathering and analysis of information) designed to develop or contribute to generalisable knowledge”

What is Research? - Purpose of Research (1)

While research can be carried out by anyone and in any field, most research is usually done to broaden knowledge in the physical, biological, and social worlds. This can range from learning why certain materials behave the way they do, to asking why certain people are more resilient than others when faced with the same challenges.

The use of ‘systematic investigation’ in the formal definition represents how research is normally conducted – a hypothesis is formed, appropriate research methods are designed, data is collected and analysed, and research results are summarised into one or more ‘research conclusions’. These research conclusions are then shared with the rest of the scientific community to add to the existing knowledge and serve as evidence to form additional questions that can be investigated. It is this cyclical process that enables scientific research to make continuous progress over the years; the true purpose of research.

What is the Purpose of Research

From weather forecasts to the discovery of antibiotics, researchers are constantly trying to find new ways to understand the world and how things work – with the ultimate goal of improving our lives.

The purpose of research is therefore to find out what is known, what is not and what we can develop further. In this way, scientists can develop new theories, ideas and products that shape our society and our everyday lives.

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The purpose of research is to further understand the world and to learn how this knowledge can be applied to better everyday life. It is an integral part of problem solving.

Although research can take many forms, there are three main purposes of research:

  1. Exploratory: Exploratory research is the first research to be conducted around a problem that has not yet been clearly defined. Exploration research therefore aims to gain a better understanding of the exact nature of the problem and not to provide a conclusive answer to the problem itself. This enables us to conduct more in-depth research later on.
  2. Descriptive: Descriptive research expands knowledge of a research problem or phenomenon by describing it according to its characteristics and population. Descriptive research focuses on the ‘how’ and ‘what’, but not on the ‘why’.
  3. Explanatory: Explanatory research, also referred to as casual research, is conducted to determine how variables interact, i.e. to identify cause-and-effect relationships. Explanatory research deals with the ‘why’ of research questions and is therefore often based on experiments.

Characteristics of Research

There are 8 core characteristics that all research projects should have. These are:

  • Empirical– based on proven scientific methods derived from real-life observations and experiments.
  • Logical– follows sequential procedures based on valid principles.
  • Cyclic– research begins with a question and ends with a question, i.e. research should lead to a new line of questioning.
  • Controlled– vigorous measures put into place to keep all variables constant, except those under investigation.
  • Hypothesis-based– the research design generates data that sufficiently meets the research objectives and can prove or disprove the hypothesis. It makes the research study repeatable and gives credibility to the results.
  • Analytical– data is generated, recorded and analysed using proven techniques to ensure high accuracy and repeatability while minimising potential errors and anomalies.
  • Objective– sound judgement is used by the researcher to ensure that the research findings are valid.
  • Statistical treatment– statistical treatment is used to transform the available data into something more meaningful from which knowledge can be gained.
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Types of Research

Research can be divided into two main types: basic research (also known as pure research) and applied research.

Basic Research

Basic research, also known as pure research, is an original investigation into the reasons behind a process, phenomenon or particular event. It focuses on generating knowledge around existing basic principles.

Basic research is generally considered ‘non-commercial research’ because it does not focus on solving practical problems, and has no immediate benefit or ways it can be applied.

For example, a researcher may try to investigate the molecular structure of a material for the purpose of understanding it’s behaviour better as it is not yet well understood.

While basic research may not have direct applications, it usually provides new insights that can later be used in applied research.

Applied Research

Applied research investigates well-known theories and principles in order to enhance knowledge around a practical aim. Because of this, applied research focuses on solving real-life problems by deriving knowledge which has an immediate application.

For example, a person may undertake applied research to investigate whether they can modify the molecular structure of a material for the purpose of making it strong enough to be used in aircraft construction.

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Methods of Research

Research methods for data collection fall into one of two categories: inductive methods or deductive methods.

Inductive research methods focus on the analysis of an observation and are usually associated with qualitative research. Deductive research methods focus on the verification of an observation and are typically associated with quantitative research.

What is Research? - Purpose of Research (2)

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is a method that enables non-numerical data collection through open-ended methods such as interviews, case studies and focus groups.

It enables researchers to collect data on personal experiences, feelings or behaviours, as well as the reasons behind them. Because of this, qualitative research is often used in fields such as social science, psychology and philosophy and other areas where it is useful to know the connection between what has occurred and why it has occurred.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is a method that collects and analyses numerical data through statistical analysis.

It allows us to quantify variables, uncover relationships, and make generalisations across a larger population. As a result, quantitative research is often used in the natural and physical sciences such as engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, finance, and medical research, etc.

What does Research Involve?

Research often follows a systematic approach known as a Scientific Method, which is carried out using an hourglass model.

A research project first starts with a problem statement, or rather, the research purpose for engaging in the study. This can take the form of the ‘scope of the study’ or ‘aims and objectives’ of your research topic.

Subsequently, a literature review is carried out and a hypothesis is formed. The researcher then creates a research methodology and collects the data.

The data is then analysed using various statistical methods and the null hypothesis is either accepted or rejected.

(Video) What is research? Purpose, characteristics, types, applications and process of research

In both cases, the study and its conclusion are officially written up as a report or research paper, and the researcher may also recommend lines of further questioning. The report or research paper is then shared with the wider research community, and the cycle begins all over again.

Although these steps outline the overall research process, keep in mind that research projects are highly dynamic and are therefore considered an iterative process with continued refinements and not a series of fixed stages.

FAQs

What is the purpose of your research study answer? ›

The research purpose is a statement of "why" the study is being conducted, or the goal of the study. The goal of a study might be to identify or describe a concept or to explain or predict a situation or solution to a situation that indicates the type of study to be conducted (Beckingham, 1974).

What is the main purpose of research as a student? ›

Research allows you to pursue your interests, to learn something new, to hone your problem-solving skills and to challenge yourself in new ways. Working on a faculty-initiated research project gives you the opportunity work closely with a mentor–a faculty member or other experienced researcher.

What are the 3 purpose of research? ›

Three of the most influential and common purposes of research are exploration, description and explanation. Exploration involves familiarizing a researcher with a topic.

What is research purpose example? ›

Specific purposes for the research study might include: Identify how often nursery teachers tell stories in the classroom. Determine the effect of telling stories on nursery children's reading fluency. Determine the effect of telling stories on nursery children's reading comprehension.

What are the 5 purposes of research? ›

Research purposes
  • Information gathering and/or. Exploratory: e.g., discovering, uncovering, exploring. Descriptive: e.g., gathering info, describing, summarizing.
  • Theory testing. Explanatory: e.g., testing and understanding causal relations. Predictive: e.g., predicting what might happen in various scenarios.
17 Aug 2021

What are the two main purposes of research? ›

The main purposes of research are to inform action, gather evidence for theories, and contribute to developing knowledge in a field of study.

What is the importance of research essay? ›

Research is important to understand, increase knowledge, and get information for social life. Social research is conducted to extend knowledge about some aspects of society like humanities, business or any social science [asi].

How many main purposes of research are there? ›

The primary purposes of basic research (as opposed to applied research) are documentation, discovery, interpretation, and the research and development (R&D) of methods and systems for the advancement of human knowledge.

What does research purposes only mean? ›

Related Definitions

Research Use Only means research that is not-for-profit, internal research, or research for evaluation purposes. The Research Use Only specifically excludes using the Product by the Licensee in any activity for consideration.

What are the four purposes of research? ›

The four purposes of research include exploration, description, explanation, and application. One purpose of research is for exploration, in order to know more about a topic that provides little information in general.

What is research in your own words essay? ›

Research is defined as the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.

What is the importance of research as a student Brainly? ›

When you have a proper in-depth analysis of any topic, the result comes out to be fruitful and also the knowledge is enhanced. The research is important for the students because it helps them to have a detailed analysis of everything.

Which purpose of research is best? ›

The purpose of research is to enhance society by advancing knowledge through scientific theories, concepts and ideas. A research purpose is met through forming hypotheses, collecting data, analysing, etc.

What does research mean to you as a student? ›

Taking multiple forms, research includes scholarly and creative activities that can lead to new knowledge, improve our ability to solve problems, result in new theory, and/ or in the creation of new art or an artistic performance. Research is a process of careful inquiry leading to the discovery of new information.

What is the benefits of research to students? ›

It offers you many benefits that include: Fostering critical thinking and analytical skills through hands-on learning. Defining academic, career and personal interests. Expanding knowledge and understanding of a chosen field outside of the classroom.

How do you define research in your own words? ›

Research is defined as the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.

What is the meaning of research for you essay? ›

Glossary - Research Essay

is a type of essay that makes the writer analyze the works of others and compare their ideas and thoughts with his own. Research essay is a clearly-written and well-organized essay that involves researching source material and synthesizing what you learn from it with your own ideas.

What do we mean by research? ›

Research can be broadly defined as: 'a form of systematic enquiry that contributes to knowledge' There are many ways to define, classify or categorise research - for example, by academic discipline, by method of data collection or by purpose.

What makes a good research? ›

Good research is replicable, reproducible, and transparent. Replicability, reproducibility, and transparency are some of the most important characteristics of research. The replicability of a research study is important because this allows other researchers to test the study's findings.

What are the importance of research in other different fields? ›

It helps US reach business. It permits US to contradict lies and support truths. It is a method to search out, gauge, and seize opportunities. It promotes a love of and confidence in reading, writing, analyzing, and sharing valuable info.

What is the impact of research to you as an individual? ›

Research impact is real change in the real world. There are many different kinds of impact including attitudinal, awareness, economic, social, policy, cultural and health. It takes hard work and persistence to create impact from research.

Why is research important and to whom it is important? ›

Studies reveal that research helps restore and protect memory and enhances mathematic and problem-solving skills. Therefore, it prepares the mind for a better understanding of concepts and theories. A person's learning capacity is improved and they can perform better in comparison who is reluctant to research.

How can technology be used most effectively in the various fields of specialization to support and assess student learning? ›

Technology will help them to learn more knowledge by searching, viewing and creating an articles or blog that may people give a feedback to support their output. And also they can easily reach each other to communicate on what was the task that their want to do.

What is the purpose of a research study quizlet? ›

1. To discover new facts about known phenomena. 2. To find answers to problems which are only partially solver by existing methods and information.

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