What is the purpose of this thing called Research?
- Find something out
- Understand more
- Validate knowledge
- Solving problems
- Proving/disproving something
- Creating something new
- Discovering patterns and trends
- identify/understand problems
- Inform Decisions and Actions
If we manage to push forward the boundaries of knowledge, such as a cure for cancer, we may be in line for a Nobel prize
However, Research can also result in a ‘joining of the dots’ between lots of pieces of known information.
Here is an example of a recent research project that I undertook when buying a new laptop
When buying my new laptop, I had a few ideas of what I wanted and what was important to me, the steps I followed were:
- I decided my budget
- I identified key factors that in the laptop design and specs that were important to me
- I looked at various options available, particularly between Apple and windows PCs
- I looked at various specs available for my budget, detailed information on components etc
- I looked at specific laptops available in my budget, looked at reviews and feedback from other people
- I spoke to a friend who knew more about current technology than me
- I found a laptop that suited me
- I looked at various stores that sold this model and compared prices
- I selected a store from which to buy the laptop
- I researched the store online and was convinced it was reputable
- I called the store
- I made the purchase
- I prayed my laptop would arrive in the mail
- The research paid off – I love my new laptop
Lets look at the three types of enquiry
critical – constantly the subject of questioning? this is not a negative thing, we are just continually asking WHY, not accepting a fact until we are sure.
scientific – Using the western scientific process. Using methods, comparisons, mathematical answers and statistics, we remove all emotion from the enquiry
systematic – Using the same process, scientific enquiry is by its nature a systematic approach, however systematic doesn’t have to be scientific, political polling is a type of systematic research, we use a set number of steps to come to a conclusion.