UGC NET Paper 1

What is Research? Objectives , Characteristics, and Process

 To find, understand, and advance human knowledge about a certain topic or situation, research is a methodical and structured process of inquiry. It entails looking into the knowledge that already exists, formulating questions or hypotheses, gathering and analysing data, and coming to conclusions. Numerous subjects, including the social sciences, humanities, business, and sciences, are open to research.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the research process:

Finding the Issue or Question Clearly state the issue or query you hope to solve with your investigation.

examination of Existing books: To comprehend the present state of knowledge, do a thorough examination of studies, material, and books that have already been written about your issue. 

Creating Hypotheses or Research Questions: Create hypotheses or research questions that direct your investigation based on the literature review.

Planning and Designing the Study: Define the population or sample, describe the techniques for collecting data, and choose between qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.

Data collection: Use techniques that are applicable to your topic, such as experiments, surveys, interviews, observations, or archive research, to compile pertinent data.

Data Analysis: Depending on the type of study, analyse the gathered data using statistical or qualitative techniques.

Conclusions: Evaluate your analysis’s findings and make judgements based on the available data.

Reporting and Disseminating Results: Add to the corpus of knowledge by sharing your research findings via research papers, articles, presentations, and other media. 

Objectives  of research

  • Extension of knowledge
  •  Contribute new information of undiscovered
  •  It establishes generalization
  •  It verifies existing facts & theory
  •  Understanding human behavior and social life
  •  Welfare of humanity
  •  Assist industrial concern

Key Characteristics of a Researcher

Intellectual Curiosity

A researcher’s primary motivation is a strong desire to comprehend the environment they live in. They are inquiring continuously, looking for fresh knowledge, and venturing into uncharted territory. Their study journey is driven by their unquenchable curiosity, which inspires them to learn more about their chosen topic.


A prudent researcher takes much care and deliberation when doing their study. They ensure the quality and dependability of their data and interpretations by being thorough and precise, paying great attention to detail. They can prevent mistakes and guarantee the calibre of their research findings by taking this cautious method.

Types of Research – Explained with Examples

Healthy Criticism

A researcher who practices healthy criticism is unafraid to evaluate both their own and other researchers’ work. They are able to recognise restrictions, prejudices, and imperfections and approach all material with an open mind. Their ability to think critically enables them to create sound study plans, pinpoint areas in need of development, and eventually expand our understanding of the subject.

Intellectual integrity

A researcher need integrity and openness in every facet of their job. They faithfully present their results, correctly credit their sources, and disclose any restrictions or possible biases in their study. Maintaining the legitimacy of their research and fostering confidence among the academic community depend heavily on this integrity.

characteristics of good research

  • Systematic: To guarantee that the data is gathered and examined in a consistent and trustworthy manner, research adheres to a clearly defined plan and methodology. Clearly stated objectives, research questions, and procedures for gathering and analyzing data are frequently included in this strategy. 
  • Empirical: Experiments and observations serve as the foundation for research. This means that a variety of techniques, including surveys, experiments, and observations, are used by researchers to collect data from the real world. 
  • Controlled: In an experiment, scientists attempt to control every factor besides the one they are specifically interested in. This makes sure that other factors aren’t influencing the results and helps to isolate the effects of the independent variable on the dependent variable.  
  • Objective: Research ought to be impartial and goal-oriented. This means that instead of letting their prejudices or personal ideas colour how they interpret their findings, researchers should make an effort to present their study in a fair and objective manner.
  • Analytical: To find patterns, trends, and links in data, researchers critically analyse the data. To interpret their data and reach conclusions, researchers employ a variety of statistical and analytical methods. 
  • Ethical: Research methodology demands ethical conduct. This implies that in addition to making sure their research doesn’t hurt anyone, researchers also need to treat their participants with respect. Institutional review boards (IRBs) frequently conduct ethical reviews of research protocols to make sure they adhere to ethical standards.

Research process

Every research project needs to have a well defined research problem in order to be conducted properly. A specific goal that must be articulated clearly and a hypothesis that must be tested in order to be accepted or rejected will comprise the research process.

Furthermore, every research project will include a study design that outlines the necessary data collection, analysis, and interpretation procedures.

Stages in the Research Process

The research process involves a series of sequential steps that guide researchers towards a meaningful and reliable investigation. Each stage builds upon the previous one, ultimately leading to a compelling conclusion and knowledge contribution. Here’s a brief explanation of each step:

1. Formulation of a Research Problem:

  • This initial stage focuses on identifying a specific question or issue that needs investigation. It requires defining the area of interest and narrowing down to a specific, answerable question.

2. Review of the Existing Literature:

  • Once they define the research problem, researchers must explore existing knowledge in the field. This involves reviewing relevant academic journals, books, and other sources to gain background knowledge and identify potential gaps in current understanding.

3. Formation and Development of Working Hypothesis:

  • Based on the research problem and literature review, researchers may formulate a tentative answer to the research question. This working hypothesis guides the investigation and provides a starting point for data collection and analysis.

Types of Research Hypothesis

Research hypothesis are educated predictions regarding how the study’s variables relate to one another. They serve as a guide for the researcher, enabling them to test their hypotheses and direct their investigation.

The primary categories of study hypothesis are as follows:

The null hypothesis, or H0:

According to the null hypothesis, there is either no association between the variables being looked at or no discernible difference between the groups being compared.

It functions as the baseline assumption and is frequently disproved in favour of the alternative hypothesis when data point to the existence of a meaningful relationship or difference.

Hypothesis Alternative (Ha):

If the null hypothesis is proven to be incorrect, the alternative hypothesis, which is the opposite of the null hypothesis, outlines the anticipated relationship or difference between the variables.

In the end, the researcher’s hypothesis is what they are looking for support for through data analysis.

Directional hypothesis

A directional hypothesis predicts precise direction of the link between the variables. It might suggest, for instance, that one variable would rise or fall in tandem with the other.

For this kind of hypothesis to support the anticipated path, a solid theoretical basis and current research are necessary.

Non-directional Hypothesis

A non-directional hypothesis states that a relationship between the variables is likely to exist, but it makes no mention of the relationship’s direction. It implies that there is a positive or negative relationship between the variables.

When there is little to no previous research or not enough information to determine the precise direction of the effect, this kind of hypothesis can be helpful.

Simple Hypothesis:

One independent variable and one dependent variable make up a simple hypothesis. It emphasises how these two variables are directly related to one another.

A straightforward hypothesis could read, for instance, “Students who study more (Independent variable) will do better on their exams (Dependent variable).”

Complex Hypothesis:

One or more dependent variables and several independent variables are present in a complicated hypothesis. It looks into how various factors interact or combine to affect the end variable.

Associative Hypothesis:

While describing a relationship between variables, an association hypothesis does not infer causality. It implies that modifications to one variable might have an impact on modifications to another.

An associative hypothesis could say something like, “There is an association between social media usage (Independent variable) and depression levels (Dependent variable).”

Causal Hypothesis:

A causal hypothesis proposes a cause-and-effect relationship between the variables. It suggests that changes in one variable (independent variable) cause changes in the other variable (dependent variable).

Establishing causation requires rigorous experimental designs and careful control of extraneous variables.

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4. Preparation of Research Design:

  • The research design outlines the methodology chosen to conduct the research. This involves determining the type of study (e.g., experiment, survey, case study), data collection methods (e.g., interviews, questionnaires, observations), and data analysis techniques.

Types of Research Design

1. Exploratory research design

2. Descriptive research design

3. Experimental research design

4. Explanatory research design

5. Determining Sample Design:

  • Researchers choose a representative group (sample) from the larger population they are interested in studying. This involves deciding on the sample size and ensuring the sample accurately reflects the characteristics of the target population.

6. Data Collection:

  • This stage involves gathering information needed to answer the research question. We use the chosen data to do the collection methods, which could involve collecting data from participants, measuring variables, or observing phenomena.

7. Analysis of Data:

  • The collected data is meticulously organized, analyzed, and interpreted. Researchers employ various statistical techniques and analytical tools to discover patterns, relationships, and trends within the data.

8. Testing of Hypothesis:

  • Based on the data analysis, researchers evaluate and test the validity of the working hypothesis. They determine whether the data supports or contradicts the initial prediction.

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9. Generalization and Interpretation:

  • Researchers go beyond the specific findings and broader interpretation of the results. They consider the implications of their findings for the larger field of study and identify potential limitations of their research.

10. Report of the Research Work:

  • The final stage involves disseminating the research findings through a formal report, research paper, or presentation. This allows researchers to share their knowledge with the academic community and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in their field.

By systematically following these stages, researchers ensure a comprehensive and rigorous approach to their investigations, leading to credible results and valuable contributions to their chosen field of study.

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