Every research contains a systematic process that focuses objectivity and collection of information for investigation to allow the researcher get a conclusion. The research process is comprised of steps to follow while doing research.
It can also be defined as the systematic manner in which a researcher approaches an area of study. The steps in the research process are interconnected, e.g. if one step in the research process changes, the researcher should review the other steps to make sure that the changes are replicated throughout the entire research process.
The research process is used or followed in every research project, irrespective of the research method used – evaluation research, scientific method of inquiry or action research. In addition, the research process demands every research to be documented in a manner that would allow another person to conduct the same research again. This is known as replicating the research.
Usual steps of research process
There are eight most frequently used steps in the research process. These steps include:
- Problem identification – this is the first step of the research process, where you identify the problem or develop a research question.
- Literature review – once the researcher identifies the problem, he or she should learn more about the topic which they plan to investigate. For you to do this, you must review the literature related to the research question.
- Problems clarification – in this step, the researcher explains the research question or problem and then narrows down the scope of the research. This can only happen after the literature review is done.
- Definition of concepts and terms – concepts and terms are the phrases or words used while describing the study or stating the purpose of the study. The terms should be defined explicitly as they apply in the research.
- Defining the population – every research project focuses on a specific topic. Defining the population is very beneficial to the researcher as it allows him or her to:
- Narrow the scope of the research to a more manageable one; and to
- Identify the population on which their efforts will be focused on during the study.
- Development of an instrumentation plan – this is the plan of the research, and it serves as a roadmap for the entire research. It has the following purposes:
- It specifies the participants of the research;
- When, where and how the data will be collected; and
- The program’s content.
- Data collection – the actual research begins with data collection. This step is very critical as it provides the necessary information required to answer the problem or research question.
- Data analysis – this is the final step of the research process. The researcher analyses the data collected during the research for him or her to answer the research question. The results of the data analysis are studied and summarized according to the research questions.