Formulation of a Research Problem - Steps of Research

The first step in the research process is the selection of a suitable problem from the field chosen by the researcher. In each field or area of education, several problems exist which may have reference to pure, applied, or action research. The choice and formulation of a suitable problem is one of the most difficult tasks for a researcher, especially if he/she is a beginner. There are many sources to which a researcher may go for a suitable research problem, or from which he/she may develop a sense of problem awareness.

The features of a good research problem are its:

i) significance,

ii) originality, and

iii) feasibility.


Research Process OR Steps of Research UGC NET Papers I Notes

Research involves a systematic process that focuses on being objectives and gathering a magnitude of information for analysis, so that the researcher can conclude.

I.Formulation of the Research Problem

Following steps are used in formulation of research problem

1.Select problem

2.Literature review 

3. Formulation of objectives 

4. Identifying research variables and measuring scales 

5. Formulating hypothesis

 Main considerations in selecting a research problem

You can find innumerable research problems in any area. Obviously, you cannot study all the problems 


2.Manageable magnitude

3. concept measurement 

4. Level of expertise

5. Relevance

6. Availability of data

7. Ethical issues


II. Preparing Research Design and study design 

A research design is a blue print for the researcher, it helps the researcher to decide the course of action during various stages. Therefore, research design involves the following consideration.

1.Objectivity of research study 

2.Selection of methods data collection

3.Source of information-sample design 

4.Tools for data collection

5.Data analysis - Qualitative and Quantitative

Research design achieves the following  purposes:

  1. It makes research efficient
  2. Optimum utilization of resources - maximum information with minimal expenditure, time and money 
  3. Flexibility 
  4. Minimization of bias 
  5. Reliability and objectivity 

III. Developing Data collection instrument 

a) Primary data and secondary data

  1. Primary data is collected for the purpose of current research project.
  2. Whereas secondary data is collected for some other research purpose.
  3. Secondary data is collected from external sources, such as TV, radio, the internet, magazines, books and news papers.

IV. Selecting samples

  1. Sampling is required if the population under study is very large.
  2. A sample can be defined as a representative subset of the population.

V. Writing a research proposal 

  1. A research proposal is a document usually having three to seven pages that informs others of a proposed piece of research.

Click here for details 

 VI. Collecting Data

There are various alternatives available to collect data. The researcher should select one method of collecting data taking into account the nature of investigation, scope and objectives of inquiring, financial cost, availability of time and the desired accuracy.

In case of a survey, data can be collected by any one or more of the following ways:

a) observation

b) personal interviews 

c) Telephonic interviews 

d) Mailed questionnaires

e) Schedule.

VII. Processing and Analyzing data

  1. After collection of data it should be arranged properly and classified into different categories:
  2. Irrelevant data should be separated, and relevant data is coded into symbols so that is may be tabulated.
  3. Tabulation is a part of technical procedure where classified data is in form of table.
  4. This helps for analysis by applying various statistical methods 

VIII. Writing a research report 

  1. Writing a report is the last and most difficult step of the research process.
  2. The report informs the world what you have done, what you have discussed and what conclusions you have drawn from your findings.
  3. The report should be written in an academic style.
  4. The language should be formal and not journalistic.

All the above steps are presented in more detailed manner in upcoming posts. 


How to write your research proposal UGC NET

What is a research proposal?

A research proposal is a short piece of academic writing that outlines the research a graduate student intends to carry out. It starts by explaining why the research will be helpful or necessary, then describes the steps of the potential research and how the research project would add further knowledge to the field of study. A student submits this as part of the application process for a graduate degree program.


What is the purpose of a research proposal?

A student writes a research proposal to describe a research area where a question needs to be answered and to show that they can answer that question by adding new information to the field.

A research committee will read the proposals and decide whether each student will qualify for admittance to the graduate degree program.

To ensure that your proposal fulfils its purpose, take care to include all of the key parts.

1. Title page

Like your dissertation or thesis, the proposal will usually have a title page that includes:

  • The proposed title of your project
  • Your name
  • Your supervisor’s name
  • Your institution and department

2. Background or literature review

Now that you’ve finished the introductory parts of your research proposal, you can begin to go into more detail on your research design. The literature review is likely to be the largest portion of your paper.

The purpose of the background or literature review section is to show that you’re familiar with the existing body of knowledge on your topic. By describing the most pertinent studies related to your research questions, you show that there is truly a knowledge gap in the field and that your proposed research will help close it.

3. The Questions

These need to be formulated clearly, giving a slight intro followed by a direct question addressing the information you are looking for. These need to be grammatically correct and in simple language.

4. Research Methods

In the next section, you need to talk about how exactly you’ll conduct the research. That is,
• the theoretical resources that will be used
• the theoretical framework for conducting the research
• proposed research method
• a comparison of advantages and limitations among the available approaches and methods to conducting the research.

5. Working plan and Schedule

Your thesis, with a projected timeline and schedule comes up next, with a projected date of completion. A brownie point here would be possible outcomes.
Alongside this, you will have to write on the execution of the research in detail.

6. Bibliography

The final part of your research proposal is also the most important; it gives credit to all the authors and primary data used in your research proposal, while lending the proposal validity. In case of adopting APA style for your dissertation, the bibliography section doesn’t exist; instead it is a reference section.

Other parts of a research proposal

Besides the standard sections above, some proposals also include the following parts:

  • An abstract to briefly summarize the proposal
  • A research budget section to break down what funding might be needed and where it might come from
  • A research schedule/timeline to show all the steps of the research to be completed and when they will be done
  • A conclusion section

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