Chapter 1: Introduction to Research Methods

1.2 The Process of Undertaking Research


It is important to understand that research itself is a process that is defined by the approach taken to it in the first place. While research uncovers some aspect of how the world is, it also reflects in large part how, where, and when we have asked the questions.

Generally speaking, research is a nine-step process:

A diagram outlines the 9 steps of the research process - which in order are: Choose a topic.Review the literature (past research).  Formulate the problem (find the gap in past research).  Develop a research question.  Choose and organize the research design.  Gather the data.  Analyze the data.  Interpret the data.  Communicate the findings.
Figure 1.1: Nine-Step Research Process.  Figure 1.1 by JIBC is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 License. 



  1. Choose a topic.
  2. Review the literature (past research).
  3. Formulate the problem (find the gap in past research).
  4. Develop a research question.
  5. Choose and organize the research design.
  6. Gather the data.
  7. Analyze the data.
  8. Interpret the data.
  9. Communicate the findings.

Implications of Past and Future Research on Research Process

Figure 1.2 shows the importance of literature review – surveys books, scholarly articles, and any other sources relevant to a particular issue and area of research and provides a critical evaluation of these works in relation to the current research problem being investigated. At the end of the research any gaps identified forms the basis for future research.

Figure 1.2 Shows the different steps in the research process and the implications of past and future research on research processes. Figure 1.2 by JIBC is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 License. 

Before moving on, it is important to understand a few key terms, particularly as they relate to understanding research.  Click on the following link to download a PDF that describes the difference between research methods, research techniques, and research methodology. These definitions will also help you with the final assignment. You may want to print this document up and pin it to your computer for easy reference as you move through the course.



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