Research in common parlance refers to a search for knowledge. One can also define research as a scientific and systematic search for pertinent information on a specific topic. In fact, research is an art of scientific investigation. The Advanced learner's Dictionary of Current English lays down the meaning of research as "a careful investigation or inquiry especially through search for new facts in any branch of knowledge." Some people consider research as a movement, a movement from the known to the unknown. It is actually a voyage of discovery. We all possess the vital instinct of inquisitiveness for, when the unknown confronts us, we wonder and our inquisitiveness makes us probe and attain full and fuller understanding of the unknown. This inquisitiveness is the mother of all knowledge of whatever the unknown can be termed as research. Research is an academic activity and as such the term should be used in a technical sense. According to Clifford Woody, research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions; collecting, organizing and evaluating data; making deductions and reaching conclusions; and at last carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they fit the formulated hypothesis. D.Slesinger and M. Stephenson in the encyclopaedia of Social Sciences define research as "the manipulation of things, concepts or symbols for the purpose of generalizing to extend, correct or verify knowledge, whether that knowledge aids in construction of theory or in the practice of art." Research is thus, an original contribution to the existing stock of knowledge making for its advancement. It is the pursuit of truth with the help of study, observation, comparison and experiment. In short, the search for knowledge through objective and systematic method of finding solution to a problem is research. The systematic approach concerning generalization and the formulation of a theory is also research. As such the term 'research' refers to the systematic method consisting of enunciating the problem, formulating a hypothesis, collecting the facts of data, analyzing the facts and reaching certain conclusions either in the form of solution towards the concerned problem or in certain generalisations for some theoretical formulation.
Objectives of Research
The purpose of research is to discover answers to questions through the application of scientific procedures. The main aim of research is to find out the truth which is hidden and which has not been discovered as yet. Through each research study has its own specific purpose, we may think of research objectives as falling into a number of following broad groupings.
- To gain familiarity with a phenomenon or to achieve a new insight into it (studies with these object in view are termed as exploratory or formulative research studies )
- To portray accurately the characteristics of a particular individual, situation or a group (studies with this object in view are known as descriptive research studies)
- To determine the frequency with which something occurs or with which it is associated with something else (studies with this object in view are known as diagnostic research studies.