RESEARCH & ITS METHODOLOGY
Hardev Singh VIRK
Visiting Professor, SGGS World
University, Fatehgarh Sahib ( Punjab)
Ex-Director Research, GNDU Amritsar
Old Indian Tradition
• Guru Chela Prampra.
• Seminaries, Madrassas, Pathshalas follow this
tradition even today in India.
• It is a life long learning process in Classics.
• Aristotle followed this tradition in his
Academy started in Greece.
• Most of the Universities in Europe followed
Greek Academy tradition.
• Research Methodology as a Theory Course has
been made compulsory by the UGC.
• This is an inter-disciplinary programme.
• Rudiments of basic tools of research are
taught at entry level.
• Selection of Research Guide follows after
completion of this course.
• Allotment of Research Topic follows it.
What is Research?
• Objective: To advance existing knowledge
• How to do Research: solve a problem, publish
• Dissecting the Dimensions of Research:
topic, novelty, technology, scope, mode, methods, i
deology, politics, utility
• Reassembling the Dimensions: quantitative vs
How to do Research
• Research is all about addressing an issue or asking
and answering a question or solving a
• Identify an issue, question, or problem.
– Talk with people who want or need your study.
• Find out what's already known about it.
– Talk with experts and/or read their reviews and the
original research on the topic.
• Plan, cost, and do your study accordingly.
• Write it up and submit it for assessment.
– Better still, do a good job on it and submit it for
• Your work will benefit more people if you publish it.
• Rule No. 1 in academia is publish or perish.
Topic: what are you researching?
– Physical: the effect of a variable on a system.
– Chemical: synthesis and factors affecting it.
– Mathematical: developing an algorithm or computation
technique to solve a problem; Mathematical modeling.
– Technological: developing a new device; improving device
performance; reliability studies and its redundancy factor.
– Social: effect of technology on society and risk-management.
• Finding a good question/problem to address can be hard.
– It helps to have a good supervisor, good colleagues, and/or
knowledge or practical experience of and affinity for a topic.
– You must read journal articles to find out what's already known.
Creating new or reviewing published info?
• Most research projects are so-called original
– You obtain new data or information about a phenomenon.
– You reach a conclusion and try to publish it.
• Some research projects are reviews of the literature.
– You use other researchers' published data or info about a
• A quantitative statistical review is called a meta-analysis.
– You should "earn your spurs" doing original research before
taking on a stand-alone review.
– But a write-up of an original investigation always has to
include a short review of literature.
Technology: develop new or use existing
• Sometimes a legitimate topic for study is methodological.
• For example, development or novel investigation of…
a measuring device
a psychometric instrument (questionnaire or inventory)
a protocol for a physical performance test
a diagnostic test
a method of analysis.
• You usually include or focus on a reliability and/or validity
study of the measure provided by the method.
– Validity = the relationship between observed and true values.
– Reliability = reproducibility of observed values.
Scope: case or sample?
• Are you solving a single case of something, or is it a sample
that will allow you to generalize to a population?
• In a case study…
You are interested in "what happened or will happen here".
Your finding applies only locally: to the case you studied.
The quest for an answer can be like that in a court case.
Qualitative methods are often required.
You reach an answer by applying logic (= common sense?) and
skepticism to your knowledge and to the information you
• Be wary of conventional wisdom and your own prejudices.
– It may be possible to estimate probabilities of benefit or truth
of various answers.
Mode of Enquiry: observational/interventionist?
• In an observational study…
– The aim is to gather data or information about the world
as it is.
– So you hope the act of studying doesn't substantially
modify the thing you are interested in.
• In an interventionist study…
– You do something to the world and see what happens.
– You gather data or information almost always before and
after the intervention, then look for changes.
Outline of Research Process
• Phase 1: essential first steps
• Phase 2: data collection
• Phase 3: analysis and interpretation
• Clarify the issue to be
researched and select research method(s).
• Essential because a question that is unclear or
too broad cannot be answered.
• The research method allows the research to be
conducted according to a plan or design.
• Clarifying the question and method enables the
researcher to be clearer about the data reqd.
• Therefore to make a decision about what sample
size, or the amount of data, is needed.
• Collecting the data
– Research surveys, interviews, literature
review, participant observation, etc…..
– attending the subject conferences and making copious
• Summarising and organising the data
– Excerpts from and summaries of transcripts
– Thoughts arising from notes on conference
Relating the data to the research question
Assessing the limitations of the study
Reporting and Writing up
• Writing up occurs after the
research is done
• Not everything that is done
• Have to leave some stuff out!!
• The research report summarises the activities
in such a way that they are clear to the
reader, and so the reader could repeat the
A Research Report
• A Research Report should generally include:
– Statement of problem
– review of relevant literature
– statement of hypothesis or research objectives
– description of research design
– selection and operationalization of variables
– description of sample selection procedure
– description of how data was collected
– data presented and summarised in words
– conclusion, limitations, and implications
– bibliography or references cited
Some Useful Hints for Research
Select a Competent Research Supervisor.
Select a challenging problem in thrust areas.
Generate experimental data, theory follows.
Computation & model making is helpful.
Criticism by peers is always helpful.
Publication of research work is a MUST.
Proper environment at home and work place
is conducive to research.
• 1. Dawson, Catherine, 2002, Practical
Research Methods, New Delhi, UBS Publishers’
• 2. Kothari, C.R.,1985, Research MethodologyMethods and Techniques, New Delhi, Wiley
• 3.Kumar, Ranjit, 2005, Research MethodologyA Step-by-Step Guide for
Beginners,(2nd.ed.), Singapore, Pearson
My Personal Experience
• Advised by my teachers and Dr Bhagat Singh to
undertake research studies.
• I chose Elementary particles/ cosmic rays as topic
of my research study.
• Visited Punjab University Chandigarh in search of
a research supervisor (Prof. MS Swamy) & then
Prof. Yog Prakash of Jammu university.
• Later on decided to go abroad for Ph.D. under
Indo-Russian (1969) & then Indo-French (1970)
Exchange Programme of MHRD.
Marie Curie University, Paris (1970)
• Helped by an Indian Scientist, Dr Sham Lal
Malick, in Paris University, which saved my one
• Prof. Max Morand was my Supervisor and Tsai
Chu, my research guide.
• Started work on my research problem after 2
weeks; scanning of nuclear emulsion plates to
find nuclear interactions for study.
• Data analysis started after 6 months; first results
reported after one year.
• Results of my study rejected hypothesis of my
own guide; my thesis went against his findings!