The researcher’s goal is to formulate more precise questions that future research can answer.Purpose of Doing Research Exploratory research may be the first stage in a sequence of studies. A researcher may need to know enough to design and execute a second, more systematic and extensive study. If we ask someone why he or she is conducting a study, we might get a range of responses: “My boss told me to do”“It was a class assignment”; “I was curious.” There are almost as many reasons to do research as there are researches. Yet the purposes of research may be organized into three groups based on what the researcher is trying to accomplish – explore a new topic, describe a social phenomenon, or explain why something occurs. Studies may have multiple purposes (e.g. both to explore and to describe) but one purpose usually dominates.
You may be exploring a new topic or issue in order to learn about it. If the issue was new or the researcher has written little on it, you began at the beginning. This is called exploratory research. Initial research conducted to clarify the nature of the problem. When a researcher has a limited amount of experience with or knowledge about a research issue, exploratory research is useful preliminary step that helps ensure that a more rigorous, more conclusive future study will not begin with an inadequate understanding of the nature of the management problem. The findings discovered through exploratory research would the researchers to emphasize learning more about the particulars of the findings in subsequent conclusive studies.
Exploratory research rarely yields definitive answers. It addresses the “what” question: “what is this social activity really about?” It is difficult to conduct because there are few guidelines to follow.
Specifically there could be a number of goals of exploratory research.
Goals of Exploratory Research:
1. Become familiar with the basic facts, setting, and concerns;
2. Develop well grounded picture of the situation;
3. Develop tentative theories, generate new ideas, conjectures, or hypotheses;
4. Determine the feasibility of conducting the study;
5. Formulate questions and refine issues for more systematic inquiry; and
6. Develop techniques and a sense of direction for future research.
For exploratory research, the researcher may use different sources for getting information like (1)
experience surveys, (2) secondary data analysis, (3) case studies, and (4) pilot studies.
As part of the experience survey the researcher tries to contact individuals who are knowledgeable about a particular research problem. This constitutes an informal experience survey.
Another economical and quick source of background information is secondary data analysis. It is preliminary review of data collected for another purpose to clarify issues in the early stages of a research effort.
The purpose of case study is to obtain information from one or a few situations that are similar to the researcher’s problem situation. A researcher interested in doing a nationwide survey among union workers, may first look at a few local unions to identify the nature of any problems or topics that should be investigated.
A pilot study implies that some aspect of the research is done on a small scale. For this purpose focus group discussions could be carried out.
b. Descriptive Research
Descriptive research presents a picture of the specific details of a situation, social setting, or relationship. The major purpose of descriptive research, as the term implies, is to describe characteristics of a population or phenomenon. Descriptive research seeks to determine the answers to who, what, when, where, and how questions. Labor Force Surveys, Population Census, and Educational Census are examples of such research.
Descriptive study offers to the researcher a profile or description of relevant aspects of the phenomena of interest. Look at the class in research methods and try to give its profile – the characteristics of the students. When we start to look at the relationship of the variables, then it may help in diagnosis analysis.
Goals of Descriptive Research
1. Describe the situation in terms of its characteristics i.e. provide an accurate profile of a group;
2. Give a verbal or numerical picture (%) of the situation;
3. Present background information;
4. Create a set of categories or classify the information;
5. Clarify sequence, set of stages; and
6. Focus on ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘when,’ ‘where,’ and ‘how’ but not why?
A great deal of social research is descriptive. Descriptive researchers use most data –gathering techniques – surveys, field research, and content analysis.
When we encounter an issue that is already known and have a description of it, we might begin to wonder why things are the way they are. The desire to know “why,” to explain, is the purpose of explanatory research. It builds on exploratory and descriptive research and goes on to identify the reasons for something that occurs. Explanatory research looks for causes and reasons. For example, a
descriptive research may discover that 10 percent of the parents abuse their children, whereas the explanatory researcher is more interested in learning why parents abuse their children. Goals of
1. Explain things not just reporting. Why? Elaborate and enrich a theory’s explanation.
2. Determine which of several explanations is best.
3. Determine the accuracy of the theory; test a theory’s predictions or principle.
4. Advance knowledge about underlying process.
5. Build and elaborate a theory; elaborate and enrich a theory’s predictions or principle.
6. Extend a theory or principle to new areas, new issues, new topics:
7. Provide evidence to support or refute an explanation or prediction.
8. Test a theory’s predictions or principles