Just like any other discipline, research has its own characteristics. These characteristics distinguish research from other scholarly undertakings.
Research is a realistic undertaking that must result to empirical data.
Research is a realistic undertaking that must result to empirical data. Empirical data are those derived from actual observations of a phenomenon, interviews of people who have witnessed an incident, analysis of first-hand document sources, excavation of artifacts, and other actions that yield valid evidence of one’s investigations.
Research follows valid, definite principles, frameworks, and procedures.
Research follows valid, definite principles, frameworks, and procedures. There are proper, logical, and ethical approaches to search for answers to a specific research question. Failure to follow these procedures correctly may yield invalid and unreliable outcomes.
Research is cyclical.
Research is cyclical. It starts with a problem and ends with another. As soon as a research question is answered, other questions may arise. These new questions may refine the answers generated, fine-tune the research methods, or modify the answered research question. This pro.cess continues until such time that a purified body of knowledge is attained.
research is relevant.
After employing strictly and correctly the predetermined procedure and gathering empirical data, the latter must be analyzed to elicit the desired meaning from the obtained information. It is only through this process that research results become relevant not only to the people who participated in the investigation—the respondents—but also to those who share similar characteristics. Proper analysis of the data should be done before making final conclusions.
Research is objective.
Objectivity is defined as a lack of bias or prejudice. Analysis and interpretation of data, and drawing out implications from research data must be free of bias and alteration to favor a certain hypothesis, a personality, or an organization. The inclination toward bias results in the total failure of the research activity.
Research is critical.
The research is said to be critical when the researcher is careful and precise in processing ideas and judgment. In this way, a high level of confidence can be established on the execution of research procedures to gather empirical data, analysis and interpretation of results, and formulation of valid conclusions and appropriate recommendations. This is especially true in qualitative research where statistics yields little help, unlike in quantitative research. The credibility of the researcher plays an important and critical role in qualitative research.
Research is clear and chronological.
Research procedures must be written clearly and chronologically for it to be replicable, such that other researchers can redo or repeat the investigation with the intent of verifying the generated information. It is only through this process of replication that particular research can claim the verifiability of valid and reliable or consistent results. Activities that cannot be repeated do not possess this characteristic and, therefore, cannot be technically classified as research.