What is a Research ? Characteristics and Types


The word “research” is derived from the French word ‘recherche’ which means to go back and search closely. Thus, the literal meaning of research is to go back and search closely. Research is a systematic inquiry process that includes data gathering, documentation of information, analysis, and interpretation of that data and information in accordance with appropriate procedures established by particular academic and professional disciplines. It is the careful/detailed study or investigation regarding a particular subject using scientific methods. Simply, research is the process of seeking out knowledge in a systematic way. The purpose of the research is to conduct a study based on the collected and analyzed data. It shows or describes the real cause behind a particular issue or concern. 

Characteristics of a Good Research

The characteristics of good research are as follows:

Sound research questions

A good research is based on sound research questions. An excellent research question clearly states the objectives of the study and limits its scope. Researchers may make sure they stay on track during their study by developing a solid research question. Most of the time, the research question affects all of the other actions a researcher does when doing their study. A good research question should be feasible, interesting, novel, ethical and relevant to be effective. A sound research question discipline a good research.

Follows a systematic research methodology

The quality and success of a research study largely depends upon the method of research it uses. An appropriate research method helps researchers to collect relevant data and apply appropriate data analysis methods. There are mainly three types of research methodology. They are qualitative research methodology, quantitative research methodology and mixed research methodology. Depending upon the research questions and objectives, the researcher must choose the best methodology for the research study. 

Uses relevant, empirical data and proper data analysis methods

A good research deals with the empirical data which is collected through observation, experimentation or experience. Empirical data is considered to be objective and unbiased and is a good foundation for good research. However, collecting empirical data is not enough for good research, it must be analyzed properly by using proper methods. Quantitative data can be analyzed using descriptive statistics whereas qualitative data can be analyzed through identifying and interpreting the patterns in textual data.

Guided by logic

A good research is guided by logic. Using logic in the research can assist researchers in deciding what kind of data they require to address their study issue. Researchers can identify mistakes and contradictions in their claims and conclusions by following logic throughout the study process. The use of logical reasoning in the research can make the research more meaningful and trustable. 

External Validity

One of the characteristics of good research is that it has an external validity which means the findings of the research can be applied in the real world. If the findings of a research can be generalized to other situations or used in broader context, the research has high external validity and this is the main aim of scientific research. 

Replicable, reproducible and transparent

A good research is replicable because it allows other researchers to test the findings of the study and use it in their research as well. Similarly, a good research is also reproducible which means the researchers can get consistent results using the same data and analysis method. This increases overall validity and trustworthiness of the research. For a research to be replicable and reproducible, it must be transparent which means it should be available to other researchers as well. 

Identifies its limits and makes recommendations for additional study

A solid study also provides information on data collection and analysis techniques and paves the way for additional study on the subject. Along with the study’s findings and conclusions, researchers must discuss the study’s constraints and potential weaknesses of the research. This provides guidance for the other researcher to make their study better and credible. 


A good research is carried out by following research ethics. An ethical research work assists in safeguarding the rights and dignity of study subjects. A good research also ensures that researchers uphold principles like impartiality, honesty, integrity, and accountability in their work.

Classification of Research

There are different types of research according to their purpose, type of data used, depth of the scope, source of information and other factors. Some of the major types of the research are given below:

On the basis of purpose

Theoretical Research

Also known as basic research, theoretical research is based on generating knowledge regardless of its practical application. In this type of research, data are collected to develop new general concepts for better understanding of a particular field. The findings of this type of research are based on documentary analysis and are oriented towards the formulation of theories.

Applied research

This type of research is done to address a specific research problem. Applied research is commonly used in the field of engineering, computer science, medicine, etc. to develop practical scientific knowledge. This type of research is based on knowledge and results obtained from theoretical research. 

On the basis of depth of scope

Exploratory Research

This type of research is used to investigate a topic that has not yet been thoroughly studied or comprehended. It establishes a framework and a hypothesis from which a thorough investigation may be built, allowing for the generation of conclusive results. Exploratory research is based more on collection of data rather than on theory because it is about less-studied or researched topics. 

Descriptive Research

Descriptive research’s main goal is to describe a phenomenon’s characteristics without necessarily focusing on the factors that contribute to its occurrence. In descriptive research, the researcher must take special care to avoid influencing the observed object or phenomenon because doing so could alter its behavior. 

Explanatory research

The most prevalent form of study methodology is explanatory research, which is in charge of creating cause-and-effect connections that let generalizations be made to related realities. Although it offers more details on the observed object and its interactions with the environment, it is closely related to descriptive research.

Correlational Research

This kind of scientific investigation aims to establish a connection between two or more variables. When a variable change, how much the other components of the observed system change is the goal of a correlational study.

On the basis of Data used

Qualitative Research

In qualitative research, data is collected through open-ended questions. The majority of the responses are not numerical. This technique aids in the researcher’s comprehension of participants’ thoughts and the reasons behind their opinions. 

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research work with numerical data and quantifiable forms. It employs a methodical approach of looking into events or data. It offers justifications for connections between quantifiable factors that can be used to either describe, predict, or regulate an event.

On the basis of Degree of Manipulation of Variables

Experimental Research

It involves creating or reproducing a phenomenon whose variables are altered under very precise controls in order to recognize or understand its impact on a different independent variable or object. Measurements of the phenomenon under study are made using study and control groups and in accordance with the rules of the scientific method. 

Non-Experimental Research

In this type of research, a certain phenomenon is analyzed in its natural surroundings and is also known as observational research. As a result, the researcher refrains from taking direct action and instead restricts their involvement to collecting the data needed for the study. It is frequently utilized in descriptive research because it is observational in nature.

Quasi-experimental research

This type of research is not totally experimental because it merely affects some factors of the phenomenon being studied. The focus group and the research in this instance are not chosen at random but rather from populations or groups that already exist. This will guarantee that the information gathered is pertinent and that the study can take into account the population’s knowledge, viewpoints, and opinions.


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