Research Process | Types

Coursera 7-Day Trail offer

The research process is a systematic and organized approach to investigating and acquiring knowledge or information on a particular topic or subject. It involves several steps that help researchers gather, analyze, and interpret data to answer specific research questions or objectives.

Research Process

The process of research involves various steps necessary to effectively carry out research which are:

Define the Research Problem

The first step in the research process relates to identifying a problem for which a solution is to be found using research process. A research problem means a statement related to an area of concern for which the researcher wants to research. Generally, it is a situation that causes the researcher to feel confused and doubtful.

Literature Review

At this stage, it is important to develop a deep understanding of the research problem by carrying out literature review including conceptual literature and empirical literature. Conceptual literature relates to study of concepts and theories whereas empirical literature consists of empirical studies carried out on similar topics. A researcher must review literature in order to enhance his subject knowledge and clarify his research questions.

Formulate Hypotheses

Formulating a hypothesis requires a specific, testable, and predictable statement driven by theoretical guidance and/or prior evidence.

Research Design and Sample Design

At this stage, the researcher needs to decide the type of research design that is to be followed in the research study.

Collect Data

At this stage, the researcher collects data for carrying out the research study. There are two types of data namely primary data and secondary data. Primary data is collected using experiments, surveys, observations, personal interviews, telephonic interviews, questionnaires, schedules. Secondary data is collected from biographies, diaries, records and published materials.

Analyse Data

At this stage, data is refined and transformed to derive meaningful information by using different statistical analysis methods such as data tabulation, charts and graphs. Analysis of collected data is also done by using statistical techniques such as correlation, regression and time series analysis.

After data analysis, the researcher can check the validity of the hypothesis (an activity known as hypothesis testing) by using several statistical tests such as Chi-square test, t-test and F-test.

Interpret and Report

This is the last stage of the research process where a the researcher prepares an elaborate report in which he/she lists down all the important details related to the research carried out by him. The research report usually consists of various elements such as introduction, research findings, main report and conclusion.

It must be noted that the steps involved in the research process are not mutually exclusive and separate from each other. The order of these steps may vary and it is important for the researcher to look out and foresee the requirements of the next steps in the research process. The given steps serve only as a procedural guideline for carrying out a research process.

Types of Research

The field of research is divided into two major types of research, namely exploratory research and conclusive research. Let us discuss these types as follows:

Exploratory Research

It is performed initially when the problem is unclear or vague. In experimental studies, all obvious possible causes are eliminated, thus directing the study to proceed according to the prescribed options. The decline in sales in the company may be due to reasons such as inefficiency, invalid price, uncommon marketing power, inaccurate promotion, etc.

Research managers should examine these questions to find the most effective methods for further research. The first investigation of this type is called exploratory research. Exploratory research is based on two approaches, namely primary research and secondary research.

A detailed explanation of these two approaches are explained as follows:

Primary Research

In primary research, the data is collected for the first time. Primary research is also called field research or original research, which is carried out first-hand, often for a specific purpose.

Some of the major primary research methods include:

  • Questionnaires
  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Observations
  • Charts, maps, tables or diagrams
  • Documents
  • Reports
  • Photos
  • Diaries

Secondary Research

In secondary research, the already existing data is summarised and collated to present in a manner as needed so that the overall effectiveness of research can be enhanced. For instance, in book research, the research involves collecting data from books in form of notes and reports.

Some of the important methods of secondary research include:

  • Data available on the internet
  • Government and non-government data
  • Public libraries
  • Educational institutions
  • Journals and whitepapers

Criminal police/CBI police read past records or history of criminals and terrorists in order to reach certain conclusions. The main purpose of this study is to find common meaning and performance from past trends in order to understand the present and the future.

Conclusive Research

Conclusive research helps in providing a way for verifying and quantifying the insights gained from exploratory research. It helps in providing answers to a given research topic using a proper design and methodology. Conclusive research is based on well-designed structure and it helps in formulating hypotheses and solving the hypotheses to derive results.

There are two types of conclusive research, which are explained as follows:

Descriptive Research

The main purpose of descriptive research is to describe the state of view as it currently exists. Easily set, it is a truth that finds the investigation. In descriptive research, clear conclusions can be reached, but they do not establish a relationship of cause and effect.

This type of research attempts to define respondent characteristics in relation to a particular product. Descriptive research is about the personality traits of a consumer. For example, the tendency to use alcohol in relation to socio-economic factors such as age, family, income, level of education, etc.

Another example would be the viewing of TV channels, their age differences, the level of income, the professionalism of the respondent, and the viewing time. Therefore, the level of TV use of the various types of respondents will be important to the researcher. There are three types of actors who will decide on the use of TV including television producers, program broadcasters and viewers.

Therefore, research can be done on any of the following. The manufacturer can come up with tools that will make the television easier to use. Some of the resources are remote control, child lock, different types of different leadership groups, internet compatibility, wall mounting, etc. Similarly, broadcast agencies can come up with programs, which can be tailored to different ages and incomes.

Finally, viewers who use the TV should be aware of programs from various channels and can adjust their viewing accordingly. Descriptive research is about certain predictions, for example, the sale of a company product for the next three years, i.e., forecasting. Descriptive research is used to measure the number of people who behave in a certain way.

For example, “Why do prepare central-income centres go to Food World to buy their commodities?” Research can be submitted by the manufacturer to find a variety of services that can be provided on television based on the above discussion. Similarly, studies can be conducted by broadcast channels to determine the level of use of TV programs.

Example: The following hypothesis may be made about programs: Programmes on various channels are useful in the form of entertainment for viewers. Viewers feel that TV is a powerful incentive for children to improve their knowledge in particular, fiction and animation programs.

Experimental Research

It is a type of applied research which follows a scientific approach to research wherein there are two major types of variables known as independent variables and dependant variables. In experimental research, one or more independent variables are manipulated to observe and measure the impact on one or more dependent variables.

The effect of the independent variables on the dependent variables is observed and recorded over time. This helps the researchers in deriving conclusions with respect to the relationship between independent and dependant variables. Experimental research is used extensively in physical and social sciences, psychology, and education.

Business Ethics

(Click on Topic to Read)

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Lean Six Sigma

Research Methodology


Operations Research

Operation Management

Service Operations Management

Procurement Management

Strategic Management

Supply Chain

Leave a Reply