Research has many avenues, and for the truly creative and innovative researchers, there are the more unique. The reality is, however, that some methods of research are more reliable and effective than others. Choosing the right ones for the right projects can mean the difference between fact and fallacy, success and failure.
As a matter of fact, some forms of research are preferable to certain fields over other; the type of research one conducts is quite often indigenous to the particular field or discipline. This is especially true in the college setting.
Documentation, of course, is universal, which means this is mandatory for every field and every project. This is the foundation of all research, as it determines that which will go in the final work. Already existing data tells the researcher what has been established and what hasn’t, and so it indirectly serves as a basis that leads the research toward further findings. The paper to be written will be yet another piece of documentation illustrating further stages of developed data.
Still, research cannot rely solely on documentation, as printed material merely confirms workable theories and facts, and illustrated established dynamics between schools of data (e.g. graphs). In light of this, other forms of research are necessary to both reinforce and test new theories.
Science course will undoubtedly require scientific experimentation and studies. Laboratory work, surveys and field are types of science in motion. Whether researchers use microscopes to analyze organic substances or study through interaction in the real world, scientific research can confirm whether theories are possible, probable or even unlikely.
Another means of identifying actualities (establishing facts or confirming fallacies) is through witness testimony. This would be the interview, whether one-on-one or in group. Researchers can obtain information through the valuable eyewitness accounts. Still, the problem with this form of research is that testimony is based on an individual perspective, so it is liable to be biased. This can add an interesting dimension to the subject, but it can also create inconsistency with other perspectives which can render the research more difficult to analyze and assess. This is why the results of interviews, too, cannot stand alone; concrete evaluations as ascertained through experimentation or observation are necessary to determine the level of accuracy of the individual interview individually and in comparison with other interviews and/or documentation.
I most cases, effective and thorough research requires a combination of all of these, not only to provide a multidimensional sense to the findings, but also for the sake of corroboration so that the amalgamated data generated by each type may complement one another. This leads for new facts to become established. As a matter of fact, no single form of research can work without the contributions of the others, precisely for these reasons.
When it comes to research, those who are conducting it must be very careful and proceed with an ongoing sense of objectivity. This is sometimes difficult, as humans cannot help but inject some of who they are, but with experience and insight, researchers remove themselves from the picture so that all research can bring the best and most realistic results. After all, that’s the purpose of conducting research in the first place.
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