Chapter 2 Overview of the Research Process

  • Published 2017


Scientific research is the process of (1) developing an empirically answerable question, (2) deriving a falsifiable hypothesis derived from a theory that purports to answer the question, (3) collecting (or finding) and analyzing empirical data to test the hypothesis, (4) rejecting or failing to reject the hypothesis, and (5) relating the results of the analyses back to the theory from which the question was drawn. This last step usually involves revising the original theory to handle discrepancies between what the empirical data show and what the original theory posited, although the findings of only a single study usually are not sufficient to warrant major revisions of a theory. Nonetheless, a scientific research study, no matter how small the contribution, must make a new contribution to be considered original scientific research. In other words, a research study adds to our knowledge base. This requirement distinguishes a research paper from a report. For the most part, the scientific understanding of a topic changes slowly, in part because science is about falsifying theories—and not proving them—and in part because a well-done study can generally only address a single, very narrow research question or hypothesis. Occasionally, some research leads to major changes in theory or a major change in an entire orientation that gives rise to theory (a “paradigm shift”; see Kuhn 1962), but generally, science progresses very slowly, with theories being “fine-tuned” with each additional study.

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@inproceedings{2017Chapter2O, title={Chapter 2 Overview of the Research Process}, author={}, year={2017} }