What is Research?

Research can be generally described as the systematic enquiry that seeks answers to a problem or the methodical study that seeks to prove a hypothesis which aims to refine existing knowledge and generate new knowledge. Consecutively, we encounter research in our everyday lives. In fact information and knowledge disseminates to all different platforms and is mostly only deduced from the results of a research. These research findings can be presented on various platforms such as the social media and the broadcasting media.

From the TV programs we watch, newspaper articles & books we read, reports we synthesize—we assess the information, make our own judgments, then decide our choices—yet although unaware of it, we ourselves would seek answers, confirmations, and validities from these research findings based on different considerations that must have taken influence into forming our conclusions; to name a few: what & how we understand the problem, the way the findings are presented, why the research was conducted, and how the findings relate to us. In short, the fact that we acquire knowledge and information and make our decisions from it illustrates that research is a cyclic pattern that we deal in our everyday lives, even if we’re not aware we’re doing it.

As Socrates have once said, “Life without inquiry is not worth living for a human being.” It is at this very mantra lies the essence of research. It is at the awareness of our own ignorance that stems the need to know, the need to inquire, that we question things which results in gathering knowledge. However, it must be significantly noted that the act of just gathering and confirming data is not considered research, as the data collection itself is what’s crucial in the research process. This further expands as to how acquiring knowledge is the most crucial part of the research process.

Research begins when we wonder—when we want to critically know something. It doesn’t mainly regard in knowing the (absolute) answers, but to rather increase our understanding and to provide solutions. Research provides the information and knowledge that helps us in solving problems and making decisions. This practically guides us in facing real-world problems, whether by carrying it out to further our knowledge (pure/basic research) or by applying pre-existing knowledge (applied research).

Although there are many ways of acquiring knowledge such as from our experiences and logical reasoning, the scientific method is the most sophisticated and reliable. All in all, the research process can be generally seen as a linear progress of identifying and formulating a problem (research topic), clarifying the problem or research topic (review of related literature) , clearly stating your question/s and hypothesis (statement of the problem) ,designing your research and planning strategies ,collecting data , analyzing the data by exploring relationships, and lastly ,drawing conclusions and acknowledging the limits of your research.

It is important to acknowledge that the process of research is not dependent on following this linear pattern as new ideas arise and practical problems are presented in the process. That’s why regardless of the route taken, we need to significantly be aware of the most effective research method to choose that can best provide information in developing our question/s.

Research excites me because it correlates directly to new discoveries and to the history. From the beginning till the end, it is an exciting adventure because you are directly involved to what you are doing and to what you want to know, and it is the most rewarding as you can never know what new knowledge or information you could gain in the end. Research is also the foundation of learning. Our everyday personal and professional experiences may lead us to identify or encounter a problem that we would like a solution or an answer—thus implicating the essence of research.

We gather, assess, apply, and renew all together our ideas as new knowledge and information is found. In history, research helps to explain the past events in relation to predict the future events. Research is also what makes sense of the world. Theoretically and/or practically, research is the main basis of the process of seeking answers from problems, whether relying on scientific principles and assessments or in different modes of other disciplines.

Mathematically and economically, it is also the practical basis of our decision-making in our lives. Theories and basic laws are also tied in research whether through different approaches (social research). Different discussions are evoked through research thus mainly influencing the basis of our knowledge and beliefs. We always learn because it presents new challenges and new results that provoke new discussions that follow new topics for new researches.

It’s also interesting how a research, in time, can be done simultaneously by different people which then can be presented in different contexts depending on its relevance and on how it correlates to the particular time and situation (scientific discoveries). It creates the framework of understanding that helps us to further understand the relationship of the existence of this world to the information and knowledge we acquire. These all illustrate how research is an evolving process—as new knowledge and information arises, we grow for the betterment of our world. Research then, as I abstractly conclude, is the essence of the world.

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