Research is a logical and systematic search for new and useful information on a particular topic. It is an investigation of finding solutions to scientific and social problems through objective and systematic analysis. It is a search for knowledge, that is, a discovery of hidden truths. Here knowledge means information about matters. The information might be collected from different sources like experience, human beings, books, journals, nature, etc. A research can lead to new contributions to the existing knowledge. Only through research is it possible to make progress in a field. Research is done with the help of study, experiment, observation, analysis, comparison and reasoning. Research is in fact ubiquitous. For example, we know that cigarette smoking is injurious to health; heroine is addictive; cow dung is a useful source of biogas; malaria is due to the virus protozoan plasmodium; AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) is due to the virus HIV (Human Immuno deficiency Virus). How did we know all these? We became aware of all these information only through research. More precisely, it seeks predictions of events and explanations, relationships and theories for them.
Research is a logical and systematic search for new and useful information on a particular topic.
What are the Objectives of Research?
The prime objectives of research are:
- to discover new facts
- to verify and test important facts
- to analyse an event or process or phenomenon to identify the cause and effect relationship
- to develop new scientific tools, concepts and theories to solve and understand scientific and nonsci- entific problems
- to find solutions to scientific, nonscientific and social problems and
- to overcome or solve the problems occurring in our every day life.
What Makes People do Research?
This is a fundamentally important question. No person would like to do research unless there are some motivating factors. Some of the motivations are the following:
- to get a research degree (Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)) along with its benefits like better employment, promotion, increment in salary, etc.
- to get a research degree and then to get a teaching position in a college or university or become a scientist in a research institution
- to get a research position in countries like U.S.A., Canada, Germany, England, Japan, Australia, etc. and settle there
- to solve the unsolved and challenging problems
- to get joy of doing some creative work
- to acquire respectability
- to get recognition
- curiosity to find out the unknown facts of an event
- curiosity to find new things
- to serve the society by solving social problems.
Some students undertake research without any aim possibly because of not being able to think of anything else to do. Such students can also become good researchers by motivating themselves toward a respectable goal.
Ph.D. degree is a passport to a research career. The Ph.D. period often influence a research scholar to make or to break in a scientific career.
Importance of Research
Research is important both in scientific and nonscien- tific fields. In our life new problems, events, phenomena and processes occur every day. Practically imple- mentable solutions and suggestions are required for tackling new problems that arise. Scientists have to undertake research on them and find their causes, solutions, explanations and applications. Precisely, research assists us to understand nature and natural phenomena.
Some important avenues for research are:
- A research problem refers to a difficulty which a researcher or a scientific community or an industry or a government organization or a society experiences. It may be a theoretical or a practical situation. It calls for a thorough understanding and possible solution.
- Research on existing theories and concepts help us identify the range and applications of them.
- It is the fountain of knowledge and provide guidelines for solving problems.
- Research provides basis for many government policies. For example, research on the needs and desires of the people and on the availability of revenues to meet the needs helps a government to prepare a budget.
- It is important in industry and business for higher gain and productivity and to improve the quality of products.
- Mathematical and logical research on business and industry optimizes the problems in them.
- It leads to the identification and characterization of new materials, new living things, new stars, etc.
- Only through research can inventions be made; for example, new and novel phenomena and processes such as superconductivity and cloning have been discovered only through research.
- Social research helps find answers to social problems. They explain social phenomena and seek solution to social problems.
- Research leads to a new style of life and makes it delightful and glorious .
Emphasizing the importance of research Louis Pasteur said “I beseech you to take interest in these sacred domains called laboratories. Ask that there be more and that they be adorned for these are the temples of the future, wealth and well-being. It is here that humanity will learn to read progress and individual harmony in the works of nature, while humanity’s own works are all too often those of babarism, fanaticism and destruction.” (Louis Paster – article by S.Mahanti, Dream 2047, p.29-34 (May 2003)).
In order to know what it means to do research one may read scientific autobiographies like Richard Feynmann’s “Surely you are joking, Mr.Feynmann!”, Jim Watson’s “The double helix”, “Science as a way of life – A biography of C.N.R. Rao” by Mohan Sundararajan, etc.
Rajasekar, S., Philominathan, P., & Chinnathambi, V. (2006). Research methodology. arXiv preprint physics/0601009. Download the full PDF from this link.