What is Research?

Research, literally to look again or to look for again, in this case means the diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications, etc. (Random House Dictionary, 2011).

There are many different ways to carry out research but roughly speaking there are two main approaches, namely qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative studies concentrate mainly on words and meanings and aim to capture the richness and complexity of human experience, whereas quantitative studies involve recording information obtained from participants in numerical form so as to enable statistical analysis of the findings and the generalisation of those findings to the wider population. Behind these two main approaches, there are important theoretical differences and philosophical assumptions about the nature of knowledge, truth and reality, how this should be recorded, what kinds of methods should be used and the role of the researcher in this process. In the past, there was considerable debate about which approach was “right” and some people argued that the two approaches were incompatible. Nowadays, it is generally accepted that both approaches are valid and have their advantages and disadvantages. For this reason, many researchers adopt a pragmatic approach, simply using whichever method is best suited to answering their research questions and which might even involve a combination of both approaches within the same study.  (quoted from the Alzheimer Europe website)


Community Based Action Research

You may have heard of community-based research or action research in Indigenous communities.  This is research that occurs in communities, in collaboration with communities and whose results have direct impact the community in terms of social change.  Intervention research involves the development, implementation and evaluation of actual strategies and programs that create a desired outcome.  The key to this type of research is that communities approve it, participate in it and can use its outcomes beyond the scope of the study. 


 


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