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The Research Process

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The research process

A research process is simply a planned, structured approach to inquiry that ensures that your investigation proceeds in a logical, coherent way. There's no one perfect way to conduct a research investigation, so there is not a single model of the 'research process' as such. There is, however, a broadly accepted series of stages:

Identification of the topic

The first thing what we have to do is to identify a topic to research and, within that, a question to address. Possible sources of topics might include the following. For example projects develop out of an analysis of recent research, from established theory or from new and important events in the world around us. The investigator might wish to replicate a study carried out by someone else in order to verify it. Typically, they will want to repeat the study but try to eliminate a possible explanation.

Formation of hypothesis or research question

When we establish what topic is that we are going to be researching as a further step we will need to produce a hypothesis or research question to clearly focus our investigation. Our decision about which to use will depend on the type of research that we wish to do. If we are going to be carrying out research that will be measurable, then it will be quantitative and we should formulate hypothesis. If we are to be conducting research that does not involve measurement then it will probably be qualitative research and we will be asking a research question.

Research design

Is the way in which a research study is carried out. The research-design characteristics permeate and inform a number of stages of the research process. At this stage we also need to consider what problems we are likely to encounter.

Gathering of data

According to research method researchers have chosen they gather or collect data at this stage, by interview, questionnaire, observation. All data must be gathered in as objective a way as possible.

Analysis of data

Date analysis involves the extraction of the raw data from questionnaires, or from records of experimentation or observation we have filled in.

Testing of data

We prove the validity and reliability of the findings by conducting a series of tests to put the theory into practise.

Presentation of data

This stage deals with the way in which we present the findings. The presentation of data is a key part of the research process and help us visualise information.




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