Four Elements Of Research Methodology Chapter

Research methodology is a way to systematically solve the research problem. It may be understood as a science of studying how research is done scientifically. It is necessary for the researcher to know not only the research methods/techniques but also the methodology. Researchers not only need to know how to develop certain indices or tests, how to apply particular research techniques, but they also need to know which of these methods or techniques, are relevant and which are not, and what would they mean and indicate and why.

Research methodology helps us to understand – Why a research study has been undertaken? How the research problem has been defined? In what way and why the hypothesis has been formulated? What data have been collected and what particular method has been adopted? Why particular technique of analyzing data has been used and a host of similar other questions.

One should remember that the various steps involved in a research process are not mutually exclusive; nor are they separate and distinct. They do not necessarily follow each other in any specific order and the researcher has to be constantly anticipating at each step in the research process the requirements of the subsequent steps. The following order describing various steps provides a useful procedural guideline regarding the research process: (1) Formulation of the research problem; (2) Extensive literature survey; (3) Development of the hypothesis; (4) Preparation of the research design; (5) Determination of the sample design; (6) Collection of the data; (7) Execution of the project; (8) Analysis of data; (9) Hypothesis testing; (10) Generalizations and interpretation, and (11) Preparation of the report or presentation of the results, i.e., formal write-up of conclusions reached.

A brief description of each of the above is as presented here. (1) Formulating a research problem involves understanding the objective of the research and checking the feasibility of the solution. (2) Extensive literature study has to be undertaken to get the concepts right. (3). Working hypothesis is then formulated with tentative assumptions to give a clear focus and direction to the research. (4).Designing includes conceptual structures and often takes into consideration of availability of skills of the research and the staff and time available for research and budgetary constraints of the research. (5).Appropriate sample size has to be determined using different sample designing techniques. (6). There are many ways of collecting the data depending on the money, time and resources available for the researcher. (7). Researcher should see that the project is executed in a systematic manner and in time. (8). Task of analyzing the data involves coding, tabulation and drawing charts with statistical inferences. (9). Do the facts support the initially formulated hypothesis? – This is checked with various methods of hypothesis testing. (10). Generalizations and various interpretations are carried out then. (11). The final report should contain introduction, summary of findings, main(detailed) report and conclusion.

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