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What is Research? Definition , Types of Research



1. What is Research

We will begin our journey of developing a solid research by actually defining what research is. Now, I sometimes see that here students occasionally have problems understanding it. The basic definitions say:


Research is something that people undertake in order to find out things in systematic way, thereby increasing their knowledge.


This sentence has several important points that you should take from it:


First of all, this activity ­ the research ­ is done in a systematic way. This is actually a reason why the course you are right now following is existent. research is important because of methodology and that is what this part of the sentence refers to. Research is scientific, you should follow specific guidelines which often feel too rigid and limiting but on the other hand, there is a reason why these exist. Behind all of those methodological guidelines that you read are tens or hundreds of years of research. People developed them to ensure that any researcher will do solid, reliableand valid research.


Secondly, another interesting part of the sentence is that research should increase knowledge. A thing of the world around us as if it  had some conjoint overall amount of knowledge generated so far. Your task as a researcher is always to in a very very incremental way increase this overall knowledge that is existent. And I am not just talking about writing whole new theories, but even something small is considered an “increase in knowledge”. For instance, if you will research which meals do people in your home city prefer the most, that is also some new information that no one ever found out.

1.2 Basic And Applied Research:

There are tons of different approaches or stratification of researches. You don't have to know all of these but you should definitely know the difference between Basic and Applied research. First of all, these are not two distinct areas, it's a bipolar axis and every researcher is going to position himself in between these two extremes of having either basic or applied research.
So let’s think about the description of these two extremes. With basic research you are trying to expand knowledge of processes of business and management, this will result in universal principles that can be used anywhere to improve such processes.

While with applied research you try to improve the understanding of a particular management problem, this will result in a solution to a particular problem.
I think here you can see the point, and I would like to note that neither of them is better than the other, they just serve different purposes. So when you will be writing your research think about where between these two are you positioned.
The basic research is usually done at universities and applied is occurring more in companies or other organizations because these are obviously often facing particular problems that need to be solved using research.

One more thing, as a university student never try to get too close into either of these extremes. Why? Because purely basic research is very hard and expensive, so you will not manage that. And on the other hand, purely applied research is a consultancy. Which is cool and beneficial to consult a company, but I guess that your university supervisors and examiners will not really like it. So, position yourself in between these two.

1.3 Exploratory, Descriptive and Explanatory Research:


Nature In the upcoming videos I will try to help you position your research. By “positioning” I mean that there are many ways you can go with your research nature, philosophy, approach and so on. Right now, even before we start to think about the research idea ­ it’s the right time to talk about what we call “research nature”. You have three choices when it comes to the nature of research:

1. Exploratory Nature:


If your research should be defined as exploratory, then you are exploring something. That is why such research is defined as:
     “The initial research into a hypothetical or theoretical idea”

In other words, you just see something and try to understand more about it. This kind of research is usually either setting the ground for future research or trying to apply existing theories to explain the phenomena that you observed.

I will give you an example from my bachelor thesis. As I may mention to you I was examining the business functioning of so-called “Software­as­a­Service” companies, from which the oldest one is 15 years old. You can imagine that 15 years is for the academic world huge novelty so we had to go for “Exploratory Nature”
What we did first is that we took existing marketing and business theories and tried to apply existing theories to explain this new phenomenon. That didn’t work, the field is just too specific and needs its own theories. So we went for this other point and wrote our own model and theory to set a ground for future work.

Two additional points I have for you here:
●   if you are a bachelor or master student you will most likely end up with explanatory nature, taking well-known theories and applying them to some new field
●   second,  it's  very  common  that  the  result  of  exploratory  research is that further
research is not worth pursuing ­ that is pretty okay result for exploratory research

Further reading:
Descriptive Nature
Explanatory Nature
Research Aim, Question, and Objectives







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