Research is simply a stochastic method of finding answers to questions. Stochastic, because it follows a clearly defined procedure with steps that eventually lead to conclusions. Every successful research finds answers. Whether the answers are favorable to us or not does not matter, research is considered successful if we find an answer.

Colleges prioritize research in their courses because If a government, institutions, business and even society are to function effectively, research has to be conducted to ensure that the decisions are based on valid and reliable information.

How is Research Used?

As stated above, the main function of research is to find answers. Research is used to provide facts that will help to analyze a defined problem. Research is also used to evaluate the feasibility of programs that have been put in place and to find better solutions to challenges presented. The following explains how research is used.

  • Research is used to confirm what we already know. People usually have predetermined beliefs about certain issues or phenomena, whether mathematical, scientific, or societal but do not have the evidence or proof that the information is indeed true. So as to strengthen the phenomena, research can be conducted to reiterate that the belief is true.
  • Research is sometimes used to provide new information. Constant research often reveals new information on a subject. It may reveal an alternative solution or even present a new problem that may need a solution.
  • Results are used to provide statistics for record purposes. Societal research can provide real-life examples that can be more convincing when trying to understand a problem or review a prior solution.

Types of Research

There are several ways of getting information, let us look at some basic ones that can help you research.

Desktop Research

This is the most common type of research used by students. It refers to seeking information on a topic, problem, or theory from secondary sources of information that have been published and exist in either physical documents or documents on the internet. The physical documents may include newspapers, journals, textbooks, etc.

Library. A hard copy research resource
Library. A hard copy research resource

Due to the growth of technology, most students are of the view that ’if finding homework answers on this site is straight forward, why would I go to the library?’ The internet has a lot of information, however, not all the information there is reliable. One should ensure he obtains information from credible websites.

Online research resource
Online research resource

Conducting Interviews

This refers to having conversations with people affected by an issue to find out their experience. For community assessment, one can use informal interviews, or structured interviews depending on the respondents so as to get the most information from them.

Conducting Surveys

Surveys are mostly concerned with numbers. They are used when one wants to find out the number or ratio of people that have been affected by an issue. Surveys can either be qualitative or quantitative surveys.

  • Qualitative survey

These surveys are concerned with behaviors, participation or how a situation or they themselves have changed over a defined period of time.

  • Quantitative survey

This form of survey is solely concerned with numbers and statistical procedures. A good example is a household income survey.

Case Study

A case study is when a researcher finds a number of actual people who have been affected by an issue to find out their experience with the aim of providing solutions. A good example is an impact assessment of an area that has had a factory that was built there recently or reviewing the lives of a group of people living in a dry area researching on the effects of drought in a community.


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