Purpose of Research


Purpose of Research

All of us are generally curious in nature. Every one of us has an element of curiosity in us that makes us to go in search of information. It may be as simple as a curiosity to know about a new movie review or more complex as the study of human behavior. The only aspect that we differ in is the degree of curiosity in us. While some of us love to know about and learn new things constantly, others thirst for information and have a great passion for dealing with the unknown. The higher degree of curiosity might make us to travel into the world of unfamiliarity in search of new knowledge. This may be loosely termed as Research. Research simply put is to search for and gather information.

Research is an educational and intellectual activity. There is always a purpose with a definite goal in research. The main purpose of doing research is to get new information or knowledge through asking questions or trying to solve a problem.

Defining Research:

A very simple definition of research that I like to quote here is by Martyn Shuttleworth who says, “Research includes any gathering of data, information and facts for the advancement of knowledge”.

In Creswell’s words, “Research is a process of steps used to collect and analyze information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue”.

Therefore, research helps in learning something new; finding answers to your questions and gives logical reasoning to your enquiry. It is a systematic study or investigation carried out in a scientific manner through gathering information and evidences in order to arrive at a conclusion.

Purpose of Research:

The purpose of research might vary, depending on the kind of study and the aim of the researcher. Given here are some of main purposes of research.

To gain Knowledge:

The basic purpose of research is to gain knowledge about something that we are unaware of or lack information. The researcher sets out to gather data about a problem or issue in focus and seeks to gain answers to his/her questions. There is a search for inadequate or unavailable information from the researcher’s side.

To add to existing knowledge:

The purpose here is to look at issues from different perspectives. The researcher takes up existing information and comes up with questions such as ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘What if’, ‘How’ and so on in order to gain more clarity or to depict the issue from a different angle. The aim is to add more information to available literature or to present the issue from an entirely different angle.

To explore:

The researcher undertakes an explorative study, when there is a lack of information about a topic / problem or when a subject is not completely studied. The purpose is to clarify concepts, gain more insights and discover facts. This will help the researcher to gain better understanding of the problem and serves as a foundation for future research.

To predict:

The researcher analyses a situation and predicts what may happen in future. He/she predicts about the possible outcomes of the research and works toward studying the particular situation in light of the predictions drawn.

To test (prove or refute) Hypothesis/ make assumptions:

One of the purposes of research is to test hypothesis in order to prove or refute a theory or concept. The researcher takes a stand, develops testable hypothesis and either proves or disproves the hypothesis. The researcher makes few assumptions that he/she supports or rejects. It helps pave way for future research studies.

To monitor:

The researcher carries out studies in order to monitor trends, decisions and outcomes. He/she draws conclusions based on observation and draws inferences.

To explain/present findings:

The researcher tries to find answers to ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘why’ and ‘so what’ and describes what he/she observed. The purpose here is to present facts as accurately and as objectively as possible. The researcher provides inductive and deductive explanations.

To observe and measure:

According to Martyn Shuttleworth, “The ultimate aims of research are to generate measurable and testable data, gradually adding to the accumulation of human knowledge.” The purpose here is to observe and measure the outcomes possibly under controlled settings and record the findings.

Generally, the above are the main purposes of conducting a research. Have I missed something? Please leave your suggestions in the box below.

Be God’s and Be Good!

  1. Martyn Shuttleworth(Oct 3, 2008). Definition of Research. Retrieved Apr 07, 2017 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/definition-of-research
  2. Creswell, J. W. (2008). Educational Research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.