1.1 Introduction: What is research?

As we start this interesting study on research, it is much in order to familiarize ourselves with the term itself before getting in to in depth details thereafter

1.2 Definition

What is the meaning of this term “Research”?

The term research is common in diverse disciplines such as academia, business and other domains and it has twofold meanings.

One, “A scientific process”

Two, “A discipline” such as Geography, History and Mathematics


First Meaning

Research is searching for knowledge repeatedly. This is because the term research is two words in one. That is RE-AND SEARCH.

The prefix ‘RE’ Means repetition or doing something severally

The term ‘SEARCH’ is the act of systematically investigating, interrogating or looking for new knowledge. It is an in depth inquiry to unearth some facts pertaining a particular phenomenon or an issue of concern.

Therefore, in a nutshell,

Research is "imaginative and methodical effort undertaken to add value to the already existing body of knowledge and entails a step by step research activities .

The reason as to why research has characteristic of being repetitive is because once new knowledge is derived at, a new need arises and hence more investigation becomes inevitable. In addition to this, new information, which has been gotten, may provide solution to one targeted group and not another due to some logistics. Hence, more information “searching” becomes necessary for that other group of users. And so on and so on.

If you are looking for new information to solve a certain need or problem, then it means that there is a research problem to be solved. Therefore, research is a process of defining and re-defining a problem, articulating hypotheses or collecting, organizing and evaluating data; making inferences and arriving at conclusions; and at last judiciously testing the hypotheses to assess whether they fit that specific hypothesis you have set or not.


Therefore, we can further define research as;

One: A systematic investigation, or inquiry, or “probe into” in order to establish the underlying facts on a certain phenomenon hence reaching new conclusions.


Two: Research is "creative and systematic assignment undertaken to increase the body of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of data acquired to increase understanding of a topical or thematic issue.

With those additional definitions, it is clear that research is not research by just mentioning the term, but there is INTRINSIC STRUCTURE or perspectives that characterize and distinguish this field from other domains. So this takes us to the second meaning which is my concern to let you know.

Second Meaning

Research is a discipline like geography, History and Mathematics that deals with all aspects of research processes undertaken to accomplish the objective of acquiring new knowledge. Therefore, it is distinguished from the other disciplines by its unique intrinsic structural characteristics as summarized in Figure 1.1 below.



Figure 1.1: Intrinsic Structure of Research

1.2.1 Research problem

Research as a discipline, is characterized by first, the research problem. What holds a valid research is the idea in the mind of the researcher and it exists in him or her in form of a research problem. This is the unanswered question the researcher is curious to define using intellectual approach. Therefore, it is an aspect of concern that needs a meaningful understanding of a specific focus, a situation, an ambiguity, conflict or a difficulty. So in a nutshell, research problem entails provision of solutions to queries strengthening prevailing body of knowledge to bridge the knowledge gap which have been in existence.

Research problem should potentially translate in to specific objectives that will further guide on how the research assignment are accomplished to arrive at the right and valid research findings.

1.2.2 Research objectives

Research as a discipline guides the researcher on the structure and standards to be met when doing research in any field. It puts forward on how to develop the main objective sometimes referred to as general objective of the study and the specific objectives emanating from the main one. Research as a discipline highlights the quality characteristics of good specific objectives in a study. That is, specific research objectives are the aims or specific goals that are conceptualized when a research problem has been identified. The specific objectives should be SMART, implying;





T=Time bound

Research as a discipline portrays how the specific objectives build by the researcher translates in to research hypothesis.

1.2.3 Hypothesis

Hypotheses is a supposition or suggestion or an assumption made by the researcher so as to subject the subject matter to a test to prove or disapprove what he/she thought could be the fact. The research hypotheses can be framed based on culture of different disciplines in the world of research. Hence, one discipline may use null hypotheses and another may use alternative hypotheses.

Null Hypothesis- Abbreviated as H0 assumes the capital letter H with inscription zero (0)

Alternative Hypotheses- Abbreviated as H1, assumes the capital letter H with inscription one (1)

For a research hypothesis to be of good quality and of assistance to the researcher, it must have the right research hypothesis characteristics. Research hypothesis translates to another outcome of the study commonly referred to as research findings.

 1.2.4 Research findings

Research findings is the end result of research endeavors you have made as a researcher. It emanates from the specific objectives of your study for each study one undertakes has specific objectives which the researcher anticipates to achieve at the end of the research exercise. So, if there are four specific objectives, there will be four corresponding research findings that is expected to be established. Or if there are three specific objectives of the research study, there will be corresponding three research findings.

1.2.5 Body of knowledge

Research end mission is to broaden the existing body of knowledge. Remember already there exists some logical interpretations of how variables inter link each other in the natural or physical phenomenon. Research adds more to this knowledge and it is the responsibility of the researcher to ensure that new knowledge is adopted. The nature of the new knowledge is pegged on the nature or type of research being undertaken which are classified based on the following criteria

  1. Purpose of the research
  2. Usage of the research
  3. Time Data point Dimension Data collection technique used
  4. Quantity and Quality perspective
  5. Conceptual and Empirical Perspective

About the Author - Dr Geoffrey Mbuva(PhD-Finance) is a lecturer of Finance and Accountancy at Kenyatta University, Kenya. He is an enthusiast of teaching and making accounting & research tutorials for his readers.