Research - Steps in Conducting Research

Steps in Conducting Research

Research is often conducted using the hourglass model structure of research. The hourglass model starts with a broad spectrum for research, focusing in on the required information through the method of the project (like the neck of the hourglass), then expands the research in the form of discussion and results. The major steps in conducting research are:

  • Identification of research problem
  • Literature review
  • Specifying the purpose of research
  • Determine specific research questions or hypotheses
  • Data collection
  • Analyzing and interpreting the data
  • Reporting and evaluating research

The steps generally represent the overall process, however they should be viewed as an ever-changing process rather than a fixed set of steps. Most researches begin with a general statement of the problem, or rather, the purpose for engaging in the study. The literature review identifies flaws or holes in previous research which provides justification for the study. Often, a literature review is conducted in a given subject area before a research question is identified. A gap in the current literature, as identified by a researcher, then engenders a research question. The research question may be parallel to the hypothesis. The hypothesis is the supposition to be tested. The researcher(s) collects data to test the hypothesis. The researcher(s) then analyzes and interprets the data via a variety of statistical methods, engaging in what is known as Empirical research. The results of the data analysis in confirming or failing to reject the Null hypothesis are then reported and evaluated. At the end the researcher may discuss avenues for further research.

Rudolph Rummel says, "... no researcher should accept any one or two tests as definitive. It is only when a range of tests are consistent over many kinds of data, researchers, and methods can one have confidence in the results."

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