Saturday, September 27, 2014

How to Conduct A research Part 2 - Identifying Problems, Literature Review, Research Aims

In the previous part, we have discussed about the cyclic nature of a research. There are 9 steps in a research that is going hand on hand. All the parts have to be in accordance, in a coherence, each other. Those parts are presented below:
The cycle begins from the top part, identifying problem. This is the first step before conducting a research. A researcher must identify the problem or motivation of why they need to do the research. The word "why" refers to the problem or motivation that researcher encounter.

Identifying problem is not as easy as we often expect. In general, there are two kind of problems that lead to the need of research. Firstly, the problem refers to the situation or the gap between the theory and its reality. For instance, based on the theory, a certain method is effective to be applied, but in reality, many obstacle are encountered and the method remains ineffective. The other kind of the problem is that the motivation to improve or to enhance what is already exists. This is different from the previous reason since the researcher do not encounter problem in their field of research. The research take place since the need of innovation or improvisation arose.

Identifying problem always goes together with literature review. sometimes, people often goes back between literature review and identifying problem. Why do we have to do literature review?
The answer is because a research must be built based on the previous research, based on what is already known. The idea is to hinder the researcher in doing research on the same topic over and over again. It also has purposes to improve the existing knowledge. The results of this step will be written on the introduction or theoretical background of a study. To build a good theoretical background, a researcher must do wide literature review on their topic. This can take a very long time, months. Some, people did this step faster and finished in weeks or days. However, the quality of the theory will not depend on how long you have studied on this topic but it depends more on the quality of literature you have chosen.

The first and the second step of the study will lead to the research aims and research questions. In general, there are 6 different type of aims. They are:
1. To describe
2. To explain
3. To compare
4. To evaluate
5. To design
6. To advice

Usually, the aims of the research will influence the choice of the research approach or research strategy. for instance, if the aim is to describe certain situation or to have insight of it, then survey is the most appropriate approach to investigate the answer of the research questions. The other example is, when the researcher wants to compare the result or the effect of certain method or treatment, then experiment is the best option. This topic, research approach, will be discussed more in the next part.

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