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What Research Is Not

Idigbe Gloria


Editor’s Introductory Note

The popular question, “what is research”  is one that already has a plethora of answers, but that notwithstanding, many still fall into the trap of calling a piece of literature research, because it may share related or similar qualities.  

Therefore, it is pertinent that those interested in the world of academics are able to differentiate between identical works of literature in the academic space; in this case, differentiating between works of literature – which ones can be called research and those not qualified to be called research. 

This article written by Idigbe Glory strives to briefly explain to the reader what is not research, she also touched on the definition of what research is.

Ayinla Daniel,
Editor.

Over the years, the word “research” has been used to mean different things by different people, in different contexts. 

This has led to misconceptions and confusion about the true meaning (definition & description) of research. 

In this short article, the author has been able to clear the air, as regards the proper definition & description of what research is by intelligently telling us what it is not. 

Now, to answering the question “What is not research?”

  • Research is not merely gathering information: Gathering information or facts from different sources, on a particular topic, is not the same as Research, rather the appropriate term should be information discovery or reference skill.
  • Research is not a sales pitch: A new improved product developed after years of “research” is rarely research.
  • Research is not the rearrangement of known knowledge: Rearranging known facts or information does not mean one has carried out the research. Rather, it can be called Facts organization or rearrangement. True research seeks to find solutions to problems.
  • Research is not rummaging around for hard-to-find information: Searching through records in an office, library, or online to discover what one does not previously know is not research. Rather, It is better called an exercise in self-enlightenment.
  • Research is not transferring facts from one location to another: Research is not just transferring facts or information from different sources to one’s paper. Appropriately, this can be called Facts organization or facts summarization. 
  • Research is not an insurmountable task and a waste of time: it has been discovered that many people, especially students, see research as a difficult subject and task, and this can be a result of poor training in schools.  If students can be trained on how to properly carry out research and how it can be applied, it would encourage and inspire them to carry out true research without seeing it as a burden.
  • Research is not just for a specific group of people: many people assume research is for aloof individuals who seclude themselves in laboratories or libraries. Any rational or conscientious Individual would be able to carry out proper research if given the right tools as research is a practical endeavour.
  • Research is not merely done to gain marks, and thereafter abandoned: It is imperative to note that after carrying out the process of research, it has to be published in an appropriate journal. It should not be abandoned or stored somewhere hidden. A research work not published cannot be referred to as true research.

Furthermore, Carrying out the formal activities associated with research such as, collecting informationorganizing it, and referencing statements do not add up to true research. If the essence of research, which is the interpretation of data is not carried out, then genuine research is not done.

So, what is Research? Generally, research is the organized and systematic method of finding answers to questions. It is systematic because it is a process broken up into clear steps that lead to conclusions and it is organized because there is a planned structure or method used to conclude. 

Research is only successful if we find answers, whether we like these answers or not. Development research is focused on relevant, useful, and important questions. If there are no questions, there can be no research.

Ultimately, there is no endpoint when it comes to defining or describing the term research, that is, research begets more research. 

This means that research involves a circle, in which one study produces additional studies. One can come across problems that need resolving while exploring a topic, and so the process begins again.


About The Author

Idigbe Glory Uleko is s registered nurse/midwife/public health Nurse. She loves reading books and editing articles. Glory is interested in public health and Nursing research. She’s also passionate about health advocacy and volunteering.

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