Mrs. V. V. Lakshmi,
Lecturer in physics,
M.R.College (A), Vizianagaram.
The term RE-SEARCH means to make known of an existing thing. Thus Research (search of searched) means to elicit some facts out off a known thing.
Here R – Retain ; E– Enroot; S – Search; E – Enigma;
A– Articulate; R – res Gestae; C – Contingency;
H – Herald
The word ‘research’ is derived from Latin word which means ‘to know’ or ‘to go about seeking’. The earliest recorded use of the term was in 1577. Research is a process in which a series of steps are used to collect and analyse the information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue.
Research is a logical and systematic search for new and useful information on a particular topic. In the well-known nursery rhyme
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
How I Wonder What You Are.
Here the words ‘how’ and ‘what’ essentially summarise what research is. It is an investigation of finding solutions to scientific and social problems through objective and systematic analysis. It is a search of knowledge, that is a discovery of hidden facts. Here knowledge means information about matters. The information might be collected from different sources like experience, human beings, books, journals, nature, etc.
Research is not confined to science and technology only. There are vast areas of research in other disciplines like languages, literature, history and sociology. Whatever might be the subject, research has to be an active, diligent and systematic process of inquiry in order to discover, interpret or revise facts, events, behaviours and theories. Applying the outcome of research for the refinement of knowledge In other subjects or in enhancing the quality of human life also becomes a kind of research and development.
Research involves 5 steps:
- Pose a question.
- Discover new facts.
- Collect the data for that question.
- Verify the collected data.
- Present the answer to that question.
What makes people do research:
This is a fundamental important question. No person would like to do research unless there are some motivating factors. Some of the motivations are-
- To service the society by solving problems.
- Curiosity to find new things.
- To get recognition.
- To acquire respect from the society.
- To get joy of doing some creative work.
- To solve the unsolved and challenging problems.
Method to do research:
The researcher should be kept in right track and make him complete the planned work successfully. Researcher should do each and every job with maximum care. In order to make steady progress in research and to assess the progress of the research work, a research design is very helpful.
‘Plan your work and work your plan’ is the suggestion of Napolean Hill. For a scientific research one has to prepare a research design. It should indicate the various approaches to be used in solving the research problem, sources and information related to the problem and time frame and the cost budget.
Types of research:
Research is broadly classiﬁed into two main classes:
- Fundamental or basic research
- Applied research
- Basic Research:
Basic research is an investigation on basic principles and reasons for occurrence of a particular event or process or phenomenon. It is also called theoretical research. Study or investigation of some natural phenomenon or relating to pure science are termed as basic research. Basic researches some times may not lead to immediate use or application. It is not concerned with solving any practical problems of immediate interest. But it is original or basic in character. It provides a systematic and deep insight into a problem and facilitates extraction of scientiﬁc and logical explanation and conclusion on it. It helps build new frontiers of knowledge. The outcomes of basic research form the basis for many applied research. Researchers working on applied research have to make use of the outcomes of basic research and explore the utility of them.
Research on improving a theory or a method is also referred as fundamental research. For example, suppose a theory is applicable to a system provided the system satisﬁes certain speciﬁc conditions. Modifying the theory to apply it to a general situation is a basic research.
Attempts to ﬁnd answers to the following questions actually form basic research.
- Why are materials like that?
- What are they?
- How does a crystal melt?
- Why is sound produced when water is heated?
- Why do we feel diﬃcult when walking on seashore?
- Why are birds arrange them in ‘>’ shape when ﬂying in a group?
Fundamental research leads to a new theory or a new property of matter or even the existence of a new matter, the knowledge of which has not been known or reported earlier. For example, fundamental research on
(1) astronomy may leads to identiﬁcation of new planets or stars in our galaxy,
(2) elementary particles results in identiﬁcation of new particles,
(3) complex functions may leads to new patterns or new properties associated with them,
(4) diﬀerential equations results in new types of solutions or new properties of solutions not known so far,
(5) chemical reactions leads to development of new compounds, new properties of chemicals, mechanism of chemicals reactions, etc.,
(6) medicinal chemistry leads to an understanding of physiological action of various chemicals and drugs,
(7) structure, contents and functioning of various parts of human body helps us identify the basis for certain diseases.
- Applied Research:
In an applied research one solves certain problems employing well known and accepted theories and principles. Most of the experimental research, case studies and inter-disciplinary research are essentially applied research. Applied research is helpful for basic research. A research, the outcome of which has immediate application is also termed as applied research. Such a research is of practical use to current activity. For example, research on social problems have immediate use. Applied research is concerned with actual life research such as research on increasing eﬃciency of a machine, increasing gain factor of production of a material, pollution control, preparing vaccination for a disease, etc. Obviously, they have immediate potential applications.
During the course of research, one should focus the mind mainly on the research work. Don’t allow the personal life to interfere with research. Our life is mixed with happiness, sorrows, problems and difficulties. At any stage of life how much happiness we had depends on how much problems we faced and how we approached each one of them, how we solve them and so on.
Entering into research:
How do you enter into a research career? There are many ways to enter and start a research career. In India, one popular path is to appear for the National Eligible Test (NET) conducted by the National Education Testing Bureau of the University Grants Commission (UGC). This test is conducted twice in a year generally in June and December. The NET is conducted in humanities, languages, social sciences, forensic science, environmental sciences, computer science and applications and electronics. The Council of Scientiﬁc and Industrial Research (CSIR) conducts the UGC–CSIR NET for science subjects like mathematical, physical, chemical, life, earth, atmospheric, ocean and planetary sciences–jointly with the UGC.
One of the prime objectives of the NET is to ensure minimum standards for the entrants in the research. Those who have at least 55 percent of marks in their postgraduate degree are eligible for writing the test. Those who are appearing for the ﬁnal-year qualifying examination can also apply for the test under the Result Awaited category. Age limit for JRF is 28 years. The upper age limit may be relaxed up to ﬁve years for SC/ST/OBC/PH and female applicants. For more details, visit www.csirhrdg.res.in. Passing the test means one is eligible for the award of Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) for a period of ﬁve years in a university or a research institution or a college.
Research facilities are available in research institutions and CSIR laboratories for those who got good grades in the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) conducted by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). There is another possible path to enter research. Scientists working in research and educational institutes prepare research proposal and submit to government agencies like Department of Science and Technology (DST), CSIR, UGC, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), National Board for Higher Mathematics (NBHM), etc. Generally, JRF and other higher fellowships are proposed by the proposer to carry out the proposed research work. Once the proposal is
approved then advertisement will be given in newspapers to apply for the research fellowships. Many universities also provide limited number of fellowships. In the above routes a researcher will get fellowship to do research. Without fellowship also one can start a research career. However, since research period for Ph.D. degree is generally a 4–6 years of work, it is not advisable to start a research life without a fellowship.
Results and conclusions:
The next step after performing the actual research work on the chosen problem is preparation of results and conclusion of the performed work. Predictions, results and conclusion are ultimate goals of the research performed.
There are two indispensable rules of modern research. The freedom of creative imagination necessarily subjected to rigorous experimentation. In the beginning any experimental research on a speciﬁc subject, imagination should give wings to the thought. At the time of concluding and interpreting the facts that were collected observation, the imagination should be dominated and prevailed over by concrete results of experiments. We should analyse cause and eﬀect. We should pay attention to minute details also. In fact keenness in observation is the hallmark of any scientiﬁc research.