Defining Research and its Importance

Research is a process that people use to collect and analyze information in order to deepen their understanding of a topic. Generally, there are three steps in this process.

  1. Ask a question
  2. Collect data that relates to answering the question
  3. Present answer(s) that may answer the question

Informally, everyone has done this in their lives. Examples include looking for one’s keys to deciding what to make for dinner based on what is in the refrigerator. Following this process helps in dealing with the challenges of life. There are also several benefits and problems with research as we shall see.

Benefits of Research

Research also has the following benefits

Research adds to our knowledge. Research provides more and more information on various topics. Each project can potentially provide another witness of a particular phenomenon. The vast amounts of statistics on various topics provide information that enlarges knowledge of a given subject.

Research improves practice. Research helps people to find the most efficient ways to do things. An example would be evaluation research done at schools. The schools examine their practices and decide if what they are doing is best based on the data they collected.

Research provides information for policy debates. Research allows decision makers a chance to weigh various options and determine what is best based on data. For example, a school might want to decide if having single subject or multi-subject teachers is the best by collecting data from standardized tests.

Problems with Research

Problems with research include the following

Issues with the research questions. If the questions of the study are vague and unclear the study is dead from the beginning. The foundation of a successful project is clear and researchable questions.

Issues with collection. The data was not collected properly. This could be due to sampling issues, unethical practices, or more.

Issues with analysis. The number of problems here are endless but they include rounding errors, questionable analysis of outliers, improper analysis technique in relation to the questions, adjusting results to support the hypotheses

There is more that could be shared but this is just an introduction into the process of research. There are pros and cons to almost anything. Research must be planned and conducted carefully in order to benefit those who are seeking answers through this process.

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