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What is Research?

Definition

noun

1. diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications, etc.: recent research in medicine.

2. a particular instance or piece of research.

verb (used without object)

3. to make researches; investigate carefully.

verb (used with object)

4. to make an extensive investigation into: to research a matter thoroughly.

Research Papers

Research papers are papers written by students for a course they are taking. There are two types of research papers: argumentative and analytical.

Scientific Research

Scientific research is the planned and systematic collection, interpretation, and evaluation of data for the express purpose of contributing to the scientific body of knowledge. The data collected can be observational or experimental. The causality of the relationships can be descriptive or analytical. The interpretation and evaluation of the data from a scientific research project are published as articles in peer-reviewed journals. The raw data is often published as an addendum.

Scientific research requires a foundational understanding of the researcher's general science discipline and a detailed understanding of prior scientific research in their specific discipline. In this way, scientific research depends on the ability to write an analytical research paper which includes an exhaustive literature search.  The analytical research paper is the first stage of scientific research for a novice researcher. This type of paper can be developed into a research protocol/proposal as a student's foundational and applied skills advance.

General Outline of a Protocol/Proposal

  1. Title
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
    • Research question
    • Objective
    • Hypothesis
    • Rationale of the project  
  4. Review of literature
    • Literature search that presents:
      • Existing knowledge
      • Prior research similar to the proposed research
    • Innovation, novelty, creativity
    • Gaps the project is intended to fill
    • Discussion of major variables that will be measured
  5. Relevance/significance of the study
    • Intellectual merit - advance knowledge and understanding within the researcher's field or across different fields
    • Broader impact - benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes
    • Responsiveness to Absolute Priority
  6. Plan of study & methodology
    • Experimental design
    • Sampling methods
    • How the accumulated data will be analyzed, evaluated, and interpreted
    • Expenses (financial and time)
  7. References