BSU 305: Research Methods Notes and Course Outline

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What is Research?

Research can be defined as “a careful study to discover correct information” or “a way of collecting
information to facilitate problem solving”. In most simple words, it is “search and search again”.
Formal definition as given in Encarta Dictionary is: “A methodical investigation into a subject in order to
discover facts, to establish or revise a theory, or to develop a plan of action based on the facts

Research is the continuous effort of mankind to uncover the unknown. Since creation, human beings have
struggled to deal with the environment they found themselves so that it can be conducive for existence.
Research is a careful, critical and disciplined enquiry, varying in techniques and method. According to
the nature and condition of the problem identified, research is directed towards clarification or resolution
(or both) of the problem. The purpose of research is to discover answers to questions or problems through
the application of scientific procedures.

Research: search for knowledge, systematic and methodical search for pertinent information on a specific
topic; movement from the known to the unknown.

In summary, from the aforementioned definitions, research is a scientific investigation aimed at
generating dependable solutions to problems through planned and systematic collection, analysis and
interpretation of data. In some cases, research may be designed to:

• solve specific research problems which are strategic,
• generate new understanding (basic research),
• adjust technology to specific circumstances (adaptive research) and
• describe, explain or establish cause and effect relationship (survey research)

Essentially, all forms of research involve the seeking or identification of a problem or problems to
investigate. The whole attempt is to discover facts and relationship that will make knowledge and
understanding more effective.

Access full notes for BSU 305 – Research Methods here

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