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Steps of Research


If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it? - Albert Einstein. What people actually refer to as research nowadays is really just Googling. Whereas if you carefully look at the term and break it down into ‘re’ and ‘search’ it means to look for something again and again. A proper definition would be, research is a systematic search for information in order to obtain a clear picture concerning the particular topic along with increasing your knowledge.

HISTORY Have you ever wondered about how the whole concept of research came into being? As early as 1577 the term was used . The word research has been derived from the Middle French ‘recherche’ meaning ‘to go about seeking’. Although we can’t pinpoint a specific date as to when research started and who started it. Question about the first scientific article remains uncertain. However, we can find birthplace of philosophy and science in ancient Greece. IMPORTANCE OF RESEARCH

Have you ever found yourself daydreaming? Well that because the human brain gets bored with familiar information or situations. Its important for us humans to continuously learn and let the brain generate new cells to make space for new information. Hence, continuously being engaged in some sort of new experiences and new ways to acquire knowledge through research or practical experiences helps us in the learning and development as a whole. Just like that, research is important to expand your knowledge base by being updated with latest informations. It creates a sense of curiosity to get familiar with new ideas, concepts and become aware about your surroundings. A lot of times it requires you to reach out to new people and live new experiences. It also helps us in various cognitive processes like problem solving, critical thinking, analytical thinking.


As mentioned before that research is a systematic process hence it is conducted in a step by step procedure.

  1. The most important step is to identify the research area that piques your interest.

  2. The next step is to formulate the aim and objectives of your research that helps in developing a hypothesis which is a tentative statement of your research paper with which you want to move ahead.

  3. What follows next is to conduct the literature review which mainly includes looking through secondary sources of data like books, magazines, journals, articles etc to understand more about the topic at hand and to see existing works on the same. This step starts even before a research project is initiated.

  4. After this comes the stage where we have to choose the data collection method keeping in mind the pros and cons of alternative methods which would give the best results.

  5. The data collection is then done with the help of the most appropriate method.

  6. Data collected is then analyzed into qualitative and quantitative ways.

  7. Conclusions are then drawn. This step involves stating as to why the hypothesis was achieved or not. Along with it, the limitations of study and suggestions for future research must be stated too.


Research ranges from being done on a very random basis for individual’s own knowledge to being conducted on a highly professional basis for the society as a whole. The most basic categorization of research would be into applied research (sometimes called action research) and basic research (sometimes called pure research or fundamental research).


Action research, also known as applied research, aims to address a current issue. Due to the fact that it is utilised in real world settings, it is descriptive and practical in nature. Since it involves commercial goals, it is also connected to technological advancements. Additionally, it also creates solutions and preventions for future problems. For example, how to improve illiteracy in people belonging to the low socio-economic status of the society.

  1. PURE

Pure research, also known as basic research, aims to develop and evaluate the concepts and theories. This research is conducted to expand the body of knowledge in the particular area by determining the theoretical explanation to the underlying problem. Basic research offers a thorough grasp of the issue at hand, even when it cannot offer a precise solution to a problem. Hence, the organizations could apply the theory obtained from basic research to handle their own problems.


Not all research work can be classified as a good one. There are certain criterias like

  1. Should be valid meaning it should measure what it claims to measure. Should also be reliable meaning it must provide consistency in answers when remeasured.

  2. The research should be generalizable meaning it should be applicable to a broad category of population.

  3. Must be plagiarism free. The content should be original and first hand.

  4. Concise and valuable meaning it should not contain unnecessary data and must hold some value.

"Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." - H. Jackson Brown Jr

The step before the actual process of making a research paper is deciding which direction to take the research paper because there are a lot of different types of research papers like argumentative papers, analytical papers, experimental research papers, survey papers, cause and effect research paper to name a few.


Since we have been talking about scientific research, it is for sure going to be inclusive of certain criterias and prerequisites that have to be followed.

1. The very first step in the making of a research paper is the Abstract. What is an abstract, in your opinion? Consider someone reading every single detail on a given subject that is available online. It will be a never-ending procedure and draining for the individual. Not only that, but it will take a lot of time and could not produce the results the individual was hoping for. Therefore, "abstract" is what helps in these situations. Technically speaking, an abstract is a short description of your research study. It must be entirely self-contained and make sense on its own, without additional citation of extraneous materials or the original article. It outlines the statement of the problem, your research objectives, the data gathering techniques, the applicability or significance of your study, and the key results.

Abstracts are important for the following reasons :

  • Selection: Readers who might be interested in the work can immediately determine from the abstract whether they need to read the entire thing or not.

  • Indexing: The essential words that a potential researcher might use to seek must be included in the abstract.

Abstracts are usually required for:

  • submission of articles to journals

  • application for research grants

  • completion and submission of theses

  • submission of proposals for conference papers

Types of abstracts :

  • Descriptive abstracts - Abstracts that provide descriptive information about the source material. Usually about 100 words or fewer in length, they are more like an overview of the work.

  • Informative abstracts - The background and significance of the study, the justifications for the techniques, the main findings, and the conclusions are all included in this.

2. After we are done with the formulation of the abstract for the research paper, we move on to the major parts of the paper beginning with the Introduction. The introduction should be prepared near the end of your research paper since it helps you gain a better and in-depth understanding of the subject at hand.

The introduction gives a thorough overview of your topic and, if necessary, clarifies any complicated terms or concepts. It also involves outlining the background of your subject (covering in-depth the most recent and pertinent literature related to your subject), stating your research problem clearly, defining your objectives, and—most importantly—providing a general direction for the whole study.

3. Next is the literature review. The purpose of literature reviews is to show readers how your research fits into the greater body of knowledge and to give an overview of the sources you used to investigate a particular issue. A literature review is a survey of academic books, journals, and other materials pertinent to a certain problem, field of study, or theory, and by doing so, it offers a description, synopsis, and critical evaluation of these works. As a result, it is reporting on other discoveries rather than being primary study in and of itself. Why would it even matter, you might ask? Most significantly, it gives your study more legitimacy in a variety of ways.

Its purpose is to update the reader on the most recent research on a topic and serve as the foundation for additional objectives, such as providing evidence to support further study in the field. A competent literature review compiles data about a certain topic from several sources.

4. Next is research methodology. The procedures you would use to gather and analyse data for your research are covered in the research methodology section. It is decided prior to the start of the research, however it is crucial that we select the most suitable strategy to carry out our investigation because it influences the outcome and general calibre of your research study and its documentation. Additionally, you might grasp a subject better if you are familiar with the research techniques that are employed in that field.

The ideal research methodology for your study can be chosen based on the nature of your research, local research standards, and practical considerations.

  • Qualitative research is concerned with words, descriptions, thoughts, ideas, and other intangibles of this nature.

  • Quantitative research utilises data that are numerical and statistical. It collects data, validates ideas or hypotheses already in existence.

Research using a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches is called mixed methods research. It investigates a topic using qualitative research to create a conceptual framework—a potential model of understanding—and then uses quantitative techniques to experimentally evaluate the model.

5. After all the data is collected, it has to be inculcated in the study in a way that is easy to decode and interpret. For this data analysis is done. The most critical phase of any research is the data analysis. Data analysis condenses gathered information. It entails the analysis of acquired data using logical and analytical reasoning to spot trends, correlations, or patterns.

You have the following options in order to select the method for data analysis.

  • Inferential Analysis – statistical data analysis to discover patterns and trends

  • Text Analysis – real-time qualitative data analysis

  • Diagnostic Analysis – exploratory quantitative and qualitative data analysis

  • Predictive Analysis – historical quantitative and qualitative data analysis

  • Prescriptive Analysis – scenario-based quantitative and qualitative data analysis

6. Framing and stating the results is what comes after data analysis. The Results (sometimes referred to as Findings) section of a research paper outlines the findings of the researcher(s) after data analysis. Even if the results contradict the hypothesis, its main goal is to use the information gathered to address the research question(s) given in the introduction..

Data can be broadly presented in the following manner :

  • Quantitative data: structured data that can be quantified and measured. For example, tags and numerical data,

  • Qualitative data: unstructured data that needs to be structured before mining it for insights. For example, text, speech, images, videos.

7. A similar concept to that of abstract is the conclusion. The sole distinction between the two is that an abstract provides a summary of the research paper's contents, but a research paper's conclusion should tie up all of its loose ends and leave a lasting impact on the reader. Its primary objectives include things like Highlighting the study's research problem. Put your main points or results in a brief summary. When a reader has finished reading your article, the conclusion should assist them comprehend why your study should be important to them. It is a synthesis of important ideas, not just a synopsis of your arguments or a restatement of the subject of your study. Additionally, it includes your research's limitations as well as conclusions and forecasts for the future.

8. Bibliography is the concluding but an important step in the making of an empirical research paper. A bibliography is a list of books, articles, or other writings on a subject or by a particular author that were utilised in the creation of a research paper, book, or other work. It is also known as a list of sources used during the entire investigation.

Need for bibliography :

Your bibliography is an essential tool for communicating crucial information to your readers:

  1. You provide your readers the ability to locate and read those books by fully disclosing every source you used.

  2. A thorough bibliography demonstrates that you employed reliable sources for your study.

  3. Using the finest versions of all of your sources, whether they are primary or secondary, books or journal articles, will help you ensure that you have done your research properly. A reader who looks through your bibliography will be able to see that you utilised the most recent or reliable edition of a certain work.

  4. Whether your reader is a researcher, student, or layperson, you can use it to show them that you are knowledgeable on all the pertinent literature and that you are up to speed on the most recent developments in your subject.

Bibliographies are therefore more than simply a formal requirement for academic editing. It is an essential component of solid research.


This Blog on Stages of Research has been contributed by Diksha Jain. Diksha Jain is a proactive and self-motivated individual with a very keen interest in the field of psychology. Owing to the importance of mental health in today's times has helped her gain a vision of helping people thrive in their lives in its truest sense. Along with gaining more practical exposure to what this spectrum field of psychology has to offer. She is part of the Global Internship Research Program (GIRP). GIRP is an IJNGP initiative to encourage young adults across our globe to showcase their research skills in psychology and to present it in creative content expression.


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