Research Process: How to do research
A research process is something that all scientists at least hope to go through when they are in the start-up stages of a new project. This guide will briefly describe the main aspects of scientific research and how it can be an overall benefit on a person's life if one stays on task and follows a system for analyzing data.
Research process can be divided into 5 sections that include:
- Choose your topic
- Identify a problem
- Formulate research questions
- Create a research design
- Write a research proposal
Choose your topic
Choosing a topic for research is not an easy task. A person must become well-versed in the literature surrounding their topic, understand which questions are unanswered, and make sure that there is enough room for improvement over previous work done on the subject. It may take awhile for one to choose an appropriate topic but once they do, it can be beneficial when conducting future studies.
Identify a problem
It is important when choosing a scientific topic that one also identifies an existing problem within the scientific community about their subject of interest. This part of the process will hopefully lead into asking more relevant questions that have never been answered before or possibly adding onto previous research in order to fill in gaps in knowledge.ulate research question(s)
When having identified a problem, the next task is to begin asking questions that are specific enough in order to avoid either writing an article with no merit or too many topics. It is also important that the question(s) be realistic and answerable within a reasonable amount of time. Once this has been accomplished, all of one's work will flow more smoothly when trying to formulate hypotheses, etc.
Formulate research questions
Formulating research questions can also be challenging since it may require one to go over prior relevant literature on the subject of choice as well as identify what aspects of their studies have yet to be answered. It is crucial during this step in the process for scientists not only ask good relevant questions but come up with ones which can be answered using the appropriate study design. It can be beneficial to have other people read over one's research questions in order to get other perspectives on what exactly should be focused upon when doing future studies.
Create a research design
Once one has created relevant research questions, they should then start thinking about how exactly they are going to conduct their future study or studies. One of the most important aspects during this step is to make sure that whatever design chosen will answer the previously formulated questions and not lead into asking new ones. This part of the process often requires one to use both scientific knowledge as well as creativity since it may involve imagining up experiments which were never done before for answering specific inquiries. Once again, having others critique one's ideas can be helpful when trying to further develop proper research designs since they may offer ideas on how to improve experimental variables, etc. Write a research proposal
Once one has decided upon the design of their future studies, they should begin writing up their overall plan in order to get approval from an Institutional Review Board or Ethics Committee if necessary. It is important for scientists to not only write up a comprehensive outline but also have other people read over it as well so that mistakes can be caught and changes made before conducting any actual experiments. Having a well-written research proposal could very well lead into eventually getting published which then influences other researchers to do work similar or related to what one is proposing. This entire process from beginning until end usually takes several months at minimum but hopefully leads into eventually making an impact in the scientific field and benefits society.
Write a research proposal
The last stage of the research process is writing a research proposal which is used to get approval from an Institutional Review Board if necessary. Since one's proposal should be comprehensive and detailed, it can take several months to write and get approved so this process should start early on in the research process before actually beginning any experiments. The proposal should include a well-written hypothesis as well as how participants will be recruited for surveys or laboratory studies since this could require IRB approval if using human subjects. In order to make sure that all procedures are followed properly when conducting experiments, one may also want add in procedures for maintaining confidentiality by removing any names from data collection instruments such as questionnaires.
Obtain approval for research
Before conducting any type of experiments, one must make sure that their research has been approved by a Institutional Review Board or Ethics Committee if necessary. This should be done beforehand since it can take time to get all approvals needed before doing anything such as giving questions to participants if surveys will be used. While having other people read over one's proposal is important, this process may require even more evaluations from the community in order to convince them that risks are minimal and that proper steps have been taken to keep others involved safe at all times throughout the duration of a study. Conduct a pilot study
In order for a researcher to find out exactly how long it will take to conduct their study or studies, they should begin with a pilot study. This will allow them to see exactly how long procedures such as data collection and analysis take since it can't be assumed that similar results will always happen when conducting new studies. Sometimes the results of one's pilot study may lead into eventually modifying things such as questionnaires or eventually designing new ones before beginning the actual experiment(s). Conducting a pilot study is also important for making sure that anything and everything has been covered and all equipment is working properly before beginning research on human participants.
By following this process step-by-step throughout their research study(s), scientists increase the chances of finding solid results that can be published and influences others to do similar work.
Research process tips - Overview of all steps involved
A research process is a series of steps that you follow when undertaking your research. It's an effective way of getting the best results from your project. We've outlined some useful tips for planning, conducting and writing up your research below. Remember, these are just guidelines – there is no set pattern to adhere to!
Research process: planning
Before you begin, make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve from your study. Here are some questions to consider:
- What am I studying?
- How many participants do I need?
- What kind of data will I collect from those participants?
- How will I analyse my findings?
Research process: running the study
There are a few things you need to take into consideration before your research can begin. Make sure you have enough time to devote to it, and think about how participants will be recruited. Remember, if possible it's preferable to use naturally-occurring groups of people rather than create artificial groups or settings yourself. Finally, have a clear idea of what ethical guidelines you intend to follow (see our page on research ethics for more information).
Research process: analysing data
After your study has finished (or even during) you'll inevitably end up with some data. How you analyse this is really important; too many researchers treat their findings as facts without considering alternative explanations! It's vital that you spend time considering the implications of your research and what it means for your topic. Remember, a conclusion is a conclusion – you can't say 'I concluded that...'!
Research process: finding out about peer review
When you have finished writing up your study, or even when you have completed preliminary work on it, try to get some feedback from other researchers in the area by sharing it with peers. This will help identify any mistakes or areas where more data is needed before your study is fully complete. If possible, try to use an academic journal with a good reputation for peer-reviewing articles before publishing them.
Research process: presenting findings
Whether it's at an academic conference or somebody else's presentation, there are a number of things you have to take into consideration when presenting your work. You should aim to present it in an engaging, persuasive way so that other people are motivated to engage with your research and the conclusions you have drawn from it. Presentations also need to be structured clearly around key points which support your findings, rather than just being a list of every step you took!
Research process: become an expert
Whether or not you intend to pursue academia as a career, becoming an expert in the area of study is good for personal development and can help improve future research projects (for example by helping you focus on areas likely to yield interesting results). There are many ways of becoming involved in scholarly activities such as writing academic journals or peer-reviewing articles, attending conferences and giving presentations.
Research process: ethics
When undertaking research it's important to remember the ethical implications of your actions; especially if you want to publish findings or present your results at an academic conference! This means carefully considering how participants will be involved (and whether they are able to give informed consent), how you'll analyse your data (meaning that you should never change the data without good reason) and what issues might arise from taking part in your study. Remember that even small details like obtaining informed consent can affect participants' willingness to take part in the whole process.
Research process: publishing
Publishing is one of the most difficult stages of a research project – but also vitally important. If you want your research to be considered valid and useful, it's necessary to ensure you publish your findings in a way that is accessible and relevant – not just the raw data! This means using language that will appeal to other researchers rather than just people outside academia. You should also present clear conclusions and note any limitations of your work (for example by mentioning differences between group members).
Research process: what next?
There are many more steps you can take as part of the research process. For example if related literature hasn't been cited properly you might choose to suggest this for inclusion in future revisions, or if participants' comments were interesting you could consider writing case studies about them! Remember every step of the research process is dependent on previous ones happening successfully; this means taking time to reflect on your work and not rushing through important tasks.
- Decide when to do what during the research process, don't just go with whatever's easiest at that moment.
- Be prepared to adjust your original plan if necessary.
- Ensure that you begin to present your findings as soon as possible, after all this is their main aim!
- Reflect on the research process and what worked well, but don't worry if something didn't go quite according to plan – do better next time!
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- 15 Steps to Good Research | Georgetown University Library
- Select your Topic - Research Process: A Step-by-Step Approach
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Research process, topics, research problem, Problem statement, research questions, hypothesis Formulation and development, research design, writing a research proposal 1. Choose your topic 2. Identify a problem 3. Formulate research questions 4. Create a research design 5. Write a research proposal