Characteristics of Good Research

Research is simply a systematic and redefined technique of thinking, employing specialized tools, instruments and procedures in order to obtain a more adequate solution of a problem than would be possible under ordinary means. It starts with a problem, collects data or facts, analyze these critically, and reaches decisions based on actual evidence. It involves original work instead of mere exercise of personal opinion. It evolves from a genuine desire to know rather than a desire to prove something, seeking to know not only what but how much, and measurement is therefore a central feature of it.

The following are a summary of the more important characteristics of a good research:

Research gathers new knowledge or data from primary or firsthand sources. It is not research when one merely restates or merely recognizes what is already known or what has been written. Research places emphasis upon the discovery of general principles. It goes beyond the specific groups and a situation investigated and by careful sampling procedures, infers qualities of the entire population from those observed in the smaller group.

Research is expert, systematic and accurate investigation. The researcher knows what is already known about his problem. He proceeds from this point, carefully planning his procedures. Data are gathered, recorded and analyzed with as much accuracy as possible. He uses such valid data-gathering instruments as he can find or devise, and employs mechanical means to improve on the accuracy of human observation, recording, and computation of data.

Research is logical and objective, applying every possible test to verify the data collected and the procedures employed. The researcher constantly strives to eliminate personal feeling and preference. He resists the temptation to seek only the data that support his hypothesis. There is no attempt to persuade or to prove. The emphasis is on testing, rather than on providing the hypothesis. The researcher elevates clear thinking and logic. He suppresses feeling and emotion in his analysis.

Research endeavors to organize data in quantitative terms, if possible and express them as numerical measures. Research is patient and unhurried. The researcher is willing to exert painstaking effort, suspending judgment to permit the data and logic to lead to a sound conclusion. He realizes that significant findings do not come as a result of hurried and careless procedures. Research requires courage. The researcher is willing to follow his procedures to conclusions that may be unpopular and bring social disapproval.

Research is carefully recorded and reported. Every term is carefully defined, all procedures are described in detail, all limiting factors are recognized, all references are carefully documented, and all results are objectively recorded. All conclusions and generalizations are cautiously arrived at, with due consideration for all of the limitations of methodology, data collected and errors of human interpretation.

From the discussion above the characteristics of a research may be summarized as follows:

Research is systematic. It follows an orderly and sequential procedure that leads to the discovery of truth, solution of a problem, or whatever is aimed to be discovered.

Research is controlled. All variables except those that are tested or being experimented upon are kept constant (not allowed to change or vary) so that the changes made on the subjects of the study can be attributed only to the experimental variable. This is especially true in an experimental research.

Research is empirical. All the procedures employed and the data gathered are perceived in the same manner by all observers. For instance, one says that there are five persons in the room, all agree to the existence of the five persons. However, if one says that there are five ghosts in the room; one or more at all may believe it because not all people believe in ghosts. Ghosts are examples of data that are not empirical.

Research is analytical. There is a critical analysis of all the data used so that there is no error in their interpretation.

Research is objective, unbiased and logical. All the finding and conclusions are logically based on empirical data and no effort is made to alter the results of the research.

Research employs hypothesis. This is to guide the investigation process. In experimental studies, hypotheses are expressly stated but in descriptive studies, the specific sub-problems or specific questions serve as the hypotheses and the hypotheses are tested and not proved.

Research employs quantitative or statistical methods. Data are transformed into numerical measures and are treated statistically to determine their significance or usefulness.

Research is original work. Except in historical research, data are gathered from primary sources or first-hand sources and not from secondary sources (usually printed materials such as books, or theses, etc.)

Research is done by an expert. The researcher uses valid and carefully designed procedures, valid data-gathering instruments, and valid data. He subjects his data to expert scrutiny.

Research is accurate investigation, observation and description; in fact, every research activity must be done accurately so that the findings will lead to the formulation of scientific generalizations. All conclusions are based on actual evidences.

Research is patient and unhurried activity. This is to ensure accuracy. Research that is hurriedly done or conducted carelessly due to racing against time may lead to shaky conclusions and generalizations.

Research requires an effort-making capacity. No research can be conducted without the exertion of much effort. No one with any effort-making capacity can conduct a research because research involves much work and time.

Research requires courage. Research requires courage because the researchers oftentimes undergo hazards, discomforts and the like. At times the researcher encounters public and social disapproval. Also, disagreements with colleagues may arise.