Steps of Research Process
The steps of research process have already been discussed in theory. Here we shall outline the procedure of conducting the research.
i) Formulate the problem: The very first step is to select a topic to be studied. Procedure of selecting the topic for research has already been described in Practical 10 of this section for writing the proposal. We shall however, recapitulate briefly what you have learnt in Practical 9 for reinforcement of your learning.
Once a research topic is selected it is necessary to formulate the research problem as specifically as possible. Formulation of the problem for research is essentially a process of definition of concepts, terms, and narrowing down a broadly selected problem area and relating the problem to research findings that have been obtained by others. One of the ways by which broadly stated problem area can be narrowed down to a more specifically stated one is through the formation of significant questions about problem area.
ii) The selection of a research problem and narrowing the topic will be based on the questions posed. Still certain guidelines do exist to help to decide whether it would be worthwhile to develop a problem into a formal research project. There are some situations where formal research may not be the most appropriate approach to the solution of the problem.
iii) Review of Literature: We have already told you about this in Practical 3. Review all possible sources of related literature. Consider the findings of previous studies that are relevant to research being done. Try to find out what practical problems other researchers have encountered.
Try to review the literature which provides supporting evidence to show the need of carrying out the research. Find out in what way the research being considered is beyond what has been found in previous studies.
iv) Framework of Theory: The problem which you have selected can be conceptualized in the form of a model. This model should clarify the concepts and the relationship contained in the research.
v) Formulation of Hypothesis: Hypothesis that are developed from research problems are concerned with testing and establishing causal relationship that represent most desirable goal of scientific research. Hypothesis contains a statement of the dependent and independent variables and the target population. The findings are generalized to the target population.
vi) Variables: Independent and dependent variables should be operationally defined. These variables should be meaningful and realistic in terms of their possible application outside of the experimental situation. Identify the extraneous variables that may affect the results of the study. Try to control the extraneous variables or eliminate these variables.
vii) Research Design: Choice of design will depend upon the type of the problem. Depending upon setting of study and the type of problem the researcher can decide if design is experimental or non-experimental. If an experiment is conducted it is to be seen that
a) if the length of the experiment is adequate for drawing valid conclusions and
b) whether the data from the experimental setting can be generalised to other settings.
viii) Collection and Analysing Data: After deciding on the sample, the researcher collects data following the methodology planned for.
ix) Interpretation of Data: Interpretation of the data should lead back to hypothesis and the objectives of the research problem. Interpretation should relate to the findings and general body of knowledge in the field. It should also contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field.