Research: Meaning, Types, and Characteristics, Positivism and Post-positivistic approach to research
- 13 May 2020
- Posted by: Durgesh
- Category: Uncategorised
The UGC NET Paper 1 Syllabus consist of 10 units, in this article we will discuss about Research Aptitude only
- Research: Meaning, Types, and Characteristics, Positivism and Post-positivistic approach to research
- Methods of Research: Experimental, Descriptive, Historical, Qualitative and Quantitative methods
- Steps of Research
- Thesis and Article writing: Format and styles of referencing
- Application of ICT in Research
- Research Ethics
Part I: Research: Meaning, Types, and Characteristics, Positivism and Post-positivistic approach to research
Section A: Meaning
The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.
The word research is composed of two syllables, “re” and “search.” “re” is a prefix meaning again, a new or over again and “search” is a verb meaning to examine closely and carefully, to test and try, or to probe. Together they form a noun describing a careful, systematic, patient study and investigation in some field of knowledge, undertaken to establish facts or principles.
Section B: Types
Research can be classified from three perspectives:
- Application of research study
- Objectives in undertaking the research
- Inquiry Mode employed
Based on Application:
It can be classified as:
- Pure Research
- Applied Research,
Pure research (Fundamental) involves developing and testing theories and hypotheses that are intellectually challenging to the researcher but may or may not have a practical application at the present time or in the future. The knowledge produced through pure research is sought in order to add to the existing body of research methods.
Applied research (Action Research) is done to solve specific, practical questions; for policy formulation, administration and understanding of a phenomenon. It can be exploratory but is usually descriptive. It is almost always done on the basis of basic research.
Based on Objectives:
Based on objectives research can be classified as:
Descriptive research attempts to describe systematically a situation, problem, phenomenon, service or programme, or provides information about, say, the living condition of a community, or describes attitudes towards an issue.
Correlational research attempts to discover or establish the existence of a relationship/ interdependence between two or more aspects of a situation.
Explanatory research attempts to clarify why and how there is a relationship between two or more aspects of a situation or phenomenon.
Exploratory research is undertaken to explore an area where little is known or to investigate the possibilities of undertaking a particular research study (feasibility study pilot study).
Based on Inquiry Mode:
The two approaches based on inquiry mode are:
Structured approach: The structured approach to inquiry is usually classified as quantitative research. Everything that forms the research process- objectives, design, sample, and the questions that you plan to ask of respondents- is predetermined. It is more appropriate to determine the extent of a problem, issue or phenomenon by quantifying the variation.
e.g. how many people have a particular problem? How many people hold a particular attitude?
Unstructured approach: The unstructured approach to inquiry is usually classified as qualitative research. This approach allows flexibility in all aspects of the research process.
It is more appropriate to explore the nature of a problem, issue or phenomenon without quantifying it. The main objective is to describe the variation in a phenomenon, situation or attitude.
e,g, description of an observed situation, the historical enumeration of events, an account of different opinions different people have about an issue, description of working condition in a particular industry.
Section C: Characteristics of Research
Controlled– The concept of control implies that, in exploring causality in relation to two variables (factors), you set up your study in a way that minimizes the effects of other factors affecting the relationship.
Rigorous-Ensuring that the procedures followed to find answers to questions are relevant, appropriate and justified. Again, the degree of rigor varies markedly between the physical and social sciences and within the social sciences.
Systematic– the procedure adopted to undertake an investigation follow a certain logical sequence. The different steps cannot be taken in a haphazard way. Some procedures must follow others.
Valid and verifiable-this concept implies that whatever you conclude on the basis of your findings is correct and can be verified by you and others.
Empirical-this means that any conclusion drawn are based upon hard evidence gathered from information collected from real-life experiences or observations.
Critical-critical scrutiny of the procedures used and the methods employed is crucial to a research enquiry.
Section D: Positivism and Post-Positivism Approach
It maintains that “the object of study is independent of researchers; knowledge is discovered and verified through direct observations or measurements of phenomena; facts are established by taking apart a phenomenon to examine its component parts.”
According to this paradigm, the role of the researcher is to provide material for the development of laws by testing theories.
Positivists believe in five principles which include
- Phenomenalism (knowledge confirmed by the senses can be regarded as knowledge),
- Deductivism (the purpose of theory is to generate hypotheses that can be tested to make laws),
- Inductivism (the gathering of facts provides the basis for laws and knowledge),
- Objectivism (science should be value-free) and
- Scientific statements
Post Positivism is considered a contemporary paradigm that developed as a result of the criticism of positivism. Like positivists, post positivists also believe in the existence of a single reality, however, they acknowledge that reality can never be fully known and efforts to understand reality are limited owing to the human beings’ sensory and intellectual limitations.
The aim of post positivist research is also a prediction and explanation. Like positivists, post positivists also strive to be objective, neutral and ensure that the findings fit with the existing knowledge base. However, unlike positivists, they acknowledge and spell out any predispositions that may affect the objectivity
Positivism and post positivism was precluded from use in this study for several reasons. Firstly, research conducted under both of these paradigms is usually quantitative where a hypothesis is tested while the researcher remains objective and separate from the area of investigation.