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How To Research : Tips And Tricks For Effective Information Gathering

how to research

The term 'research’ is derived from the French word 'recherche', meaning 'to go about seeking.’ As per records, 1577 was the year when the term was used for the first time, and since then, it has been one of the common terms across various fields of study.

Research is defined as a way of investigating a subject from various perspectives. Understanding the ways to find perfect data for an assignment or other academic papers has always been a struggle for students. Most students fail to understand the meaning of research and do not devote time to research a paper.

You need to understand that the research process will not only help you justify academic tasks but will also help you educate yourself. So, before you immerse yourself in learning about the steps to write a research paper, learn how to research a topic.

In this comprehensive post, we will take you through the 5 steps of the research process and the various research methods you must know to overcome the odds and craft a perfect paper.

Let’s dive in!

The 5 Important Steps of the Research Process

Research is not a small process. You have to be well-organized and follow the correct steps of the research process. It is crucial to follow the process properly and gather information relevant to the topic. While the research process depends on the subject you are pursuing, it is essential to learn the basics to start the process. Let's take you through the 5 basic and important steps of the research process:

steps of the research process

  1. Locating and defining the problems

Can you move forward with the research process without understanding the purpose? Of course not. A majority of students face problems with research because they fail to identify the basic problem. So, the first step in the research process is to identify the purpose of the study. It will help you gather relevant background information, the data to support your views and the ways it can be used in the decision-making process. Once you define the problem, it will help you set goals and choose the best method for research.

  1. Designing the research project

You cannot go ahead with the research process without a proper plan. Hence, before you start looking for information, plan how to do so. The plan is the structure you will use to conduct research. The structure must define the procedures to collect the necessary information and test the hypotheses. Here's what a research design must have:

  • Conduct secondary data analysis
  • Do qualitative research
  • Determine methods of collecting quantitative data (survey, observation, and experimentation)
  • Determine the definition of the information needed
  • Determine measuring and scaling procedures
  • Design a questionnaire
  • Sampling process and sample size
  • Plan of data analysis

Each of the elements is equally important, and you have to work on the task accordingly to ease the research process.

  1. Collecting data

As the name suggests, the step involves gathering relevant information for the project. There are various ways to collect data for your project. These include experiments, observations, and personal interviewing. So, in this step, you have to choose the best way to gather information. Students struggle with this step and often fail to identify the correct method. It is necessary to understand the problem and find the appropriate method to collect relevant information.

These are some common data collection techniques that you must know:

  • Interviews
  • Observations
  • Questionnaires
  • Focus groups
  • Documents and records
  • Literary sources

Use any of these techniques to collect relevant data. Understand the one that is appropriate for your project and move forward with the process.

  1. Interpreting research data

Once you have the necessary data, it is necessary to analyze the data and interpret them before you use it in your project. You cannot justify a research paper without interpreting raw data. How to do so? Here’s a look:

  • Step A: Go through the research plan again
  • Step B: Arrange all the information you have gathered properly
  • Step C: Write a rough draft based on your findings, recommendations, and conclusion. It will also help organize your data.
  • Step D: Add finesse to your rough draft before you proceed to create the final draft

Students must follow the steps mentioned above to craft a perfect research paper and score well in them.

  1. Report research findings

Your research ends once you report the final findings and justify the main research question. It is crucial to simplify the presentation to help all readers understand your project. You might also be asked to present the entire research and explain how you reached the conclusion. Understand the significance of the process and keep a note of each of the findings you come across in the process. You can choose one of the following ways to report the findings:

  • Formal paper
  • Published article
  • PowerPoint presentation
  • Audio or video
  • Spreadsheet

Now that you know about the research process, let’s take you through the various types of research in the following section.

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A Look into the Various Types of Research

 When you are asked to research on a topic, you need to understand a lot of things before you take a step forward. One of the crucial things you must know is the various types of research. Research has been classified into various types based on the objective, depth of study, analyzed data, time consumed to study the topic and more. Let's take you through all of them:

types of research

Based on purpose

  • Theoretical research

Theoretical research, as the name suggests, depends on gathering knowledge irrespective of the practical application. This type of research is generally used to understand a specific field better or to find answers to a particular question. The results are generally used to formulate theories.

  • Applied research

Applied research aims to formulate strategies to solve specific research problems. It is commonly used in projects on STEM subjects such as engineering, computer science and medicine and is based on the theory to generate practical scientific knowledge.

Based on the depth of the scope

  • Exploratory research

You will come across unexplored topics and will be asked to find information to justify the subject. Exploratory research gives form to such unexplored topics and establishes a reference and hypothesis that can be used to do an in-depth study. This type relies more on data than on theories, and you have to identify the best technique to collect raw data and analyze them to present a detailed report.

  • Descriptive research

Descriptive research aims to add meaning to the various traits of a specific event or phenomenon. It is not necessary to dive deep into the causes responsible for the event. You need not look into the reasons behind the events and refrain from using external factors to avoid any changes in the events.

  • Explanatory research

This type is considered to be the most prevalent one and aims to establish cause-and-effect relationships. Explanatory research is almost similar to descriptive research, but it goes one step further and is used to share additional information on the topic and the various elements.

  • Correlational research

Correlational research is used to understand how two or more variables are related to each other. The main objective of this research is to understand if there are any changes in a variable when there’s a change in the other variable or variables.

Based on the type of data

  • Qualitative research

One of the most common types of research methods used in social sciences, qualitative research is used to collect, compare and interpret data using techniques such as discourse analysis, interviews, surveys, records and participant observations. The data collected using this method is mostly subjective and answers two of the most important questions, ‘why’ and ‘how.’

  • Quantitative research

As the name suggests, quantitative research depends on collecting data using mathematical, statistical and computer-aided tools to measure them. The method helps find generalized conclusions over time.

Based on the variable's degree of manipulation

  • Experimental research

Experimental research is based on manipulating or replicating an existing phenomenon under controlled conditions to understand how it affects another independent variable. It is necessary to follow the scientific methods and guidelines to justify the experimental research method.

  • Non-experimental research

The research method aims to analyze an event or an element from a natural context. The researcher might not get involved in the process directly; instead, they measure the variables necessary for the study. The method is also used in descriptive research due to its nature.

  • Quasi-experimental research

The research method is a hybrid one and is not completely dependent on experiments. The study or focus groups are not chosen randomly. You have to select your focus group from a given group or population. The objective for selecting from a specific group or population is to incorporate the knowledge, perspectives and opinions of the focus group in the study.

Based on the inference type

  • Deductive investigation

If you are asked to use the deductive investigation research method, you must understand that it depends on the basic laws that lead to specific conclusions.

  • Inductive research

This is mostly an observation-based method where the observation is used to reach a generalization. The method is based on collecting data and developing new theories.

  • Hypothetical-deductive investigation

The research method aims to create a hypothesis via observation, followed by the use of deduction to reach a conclusion.

Based on the time period

  • Longitudinal study

The research method studies the same group of people over a period of time and keeps a close watch on the changes in the variables and understand their evolution over time. This method is common in medical, psychological and social areas.

  • Cross-sectional study

The cross-sectional study looks into a specific event, an individual or a group at a given time frame.

Based on the sources of information

  • Secondary research

Secondary research depends on sources on a specific subject or topic that are available. You need to refer to the works of some other researchers to reach a conclusion.

Based on the ways data is obtained

  • Documentary

In this method, you have to refer to existing documents or literature on a specific research topic and review them to reach a conclusion. Literature reviews or case studies generally follow this method.

  • Field

As the name suggests, field research is all about collecting raw data by using techniques like interviews and questionnaires.

  • From laboratory

You have to be in a controlled environment to do laboratory research. The aim is to isolate a dependent variable and form a relationship with other elements using scientific methods.

  • Mixed method: Documentary, field and/or laboratory

The method uses all the ones listed above to reach a conclusion.

All the methods mentioned here are the best ways to research. You have to comprehend the topic and identify the method that is best suited for the same before moving forward with the research process.

Final thoughts,

It is not easy to collect, analyze and interpret data. You need to have an eye for detail and be very cautious while working on the process. Research is a time-consuming process, and it is impossible to justify any paper without relevant data. Hence, to ensure you have covered all the points and have written the paper perfectly, understand the significance of research and follow the steps and methods properly.


What are the 6 types of research questions?

Ans: The 6 types of research questions are:

  • Exploratory questions
  • Predictive questions
  • Interpretive questions
  • Descriptive questions
  • Comparative questions
  • Relationship-based questions

You have to understand all these types to ace the research process and craft perfect papers. Understanding these will ease the research process.

What are the four main types of research?

Ans: The four main types of research are:

  • Descriptive
  • Correlational
  • Causal-comparative/Quasi-experimental
  • Experimental

You might have to use all these types of research processes while working on a paper. Hence, learn about them before you take a step forward with the process. It will help you get the right information and solve problems easily.

What are the features of good research?

Ans: You cannot define good research in words. However, to ensure your paper carries the right information and is well-written, it is necessary to check if your research is replicable, reproducible, and transparent. You need to ensure that readers understand why you shared the data and how it is relevant to your paper.

What is the purpose of research?

Ans: Research has a lot of applications and is significant for major experiments and academic papers. Research is generally conducted to comprehend a phenomenon or behavior or to test a theory. The information gathered must justify the topic you are working on and convince readers about your views on the topic.

What are the tools of research?

Ans: There are various tools of research. Some of the major ones include:

  • Questionnaires
  • Interviews
  • Rating and attitude scales
  • Tests

Students come across various tasks where they will be asked to use any of the above methods to find relevant information and justify the topic. It is crucial to understand all of these tools and use them wisely whenever necessary.

What is the most common type of research?

Ans: The most common type of research used widely across the globe is explanatory research. This type is responsible for strengthening the grounds for cause-and-effect relationships and allow to generalize similar realities. You have to be well-versed with the methods to use them properly in your papers.

What are research techniques?

Ans: You cannot start searching for information without a plan. Research methods or techniques are the strategies, processes or methods used to collect data or proofs to analyze and find information related to the topic you are working on. It includes the tools to collect relevant data for your project.

What are the limitations of research?

Ans: Research limitations can be defined as the weaknesses of a study. The factors affecting such weaknesses cannot be controlled by the researcher. These get affected by time, access to funding, equipment, data or participants. It is necessary to identify the factor and try overcoming the same to go ahead with the research.

What is ethics in research?

Ans: Ethics in research can be defined as the application of basic ethical principles of research activities, including the design and implementation of research methods. Respecting society, using resources and research outputs, and scientific misconduct all come under ethics in research.

What are the components of research?

Ans: There are seven basic components for a research paper, namely:

  • Abstract or summary
  • Introduction
  • Review of literature
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Conclusions and discussion
  • References

You have to follow a proper structure and understand each of the elements to craft a perfect research paper.

How to find a research topic ?

Ans-To find a research topic, you can start by exploring your interests and passions, reading widely to identify gaps in the literature, consulting with experts, brainstorming a list of potential topics, conducting preliminary research, and refining your topic by developing a clear research question. By following these steps, you can find a research topic that aligns with your interests, is feasible, and has the potential to make a significant contribution to your field of study.

How to narrow down a research topic ?

Ans-You can learn about different techniques and strategies for narrowing down a research on a topic, such as conducting preliminary research, brainstorming, identifying gaps in the literature, consulting with peers and mentors, and refining your research question based on feedback and analysis.

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 Zara William
Zara William

Zara William is one of the brilliant minds behind the archive of blog at Her content educates, inspires, and entertains. Explore the world of writing and discover how words can shape thoughts and transform lives!

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