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Process of Scientific research

A research project must be developed following a structured process in various stages, although not necessarily sequentially. This process is described below from two authors of the subject of research methodology. As Bernal explains (2006) and Hernández, Fernández & Baptista (2010), all research projects start with an idea raised by the researcher after having conducted a search for information related to a topic of interest, making sure that it is relevant and relevant, and starting from this first search, a research problem is established.

A research project must be developed following a structured process in various stages, although not necessarily sequentially. This process is described below from two authors of the subject of research methodology. As Bernal explains (2006) and Hernández, Fernández & Baptista (2010), all research projects start with an idea raised by the researcher after having conducted a search for information related to a topic of interest, making sure that it is relevant and relevant, and starting from this first search, a research problem is established.

After this, the scope of the investigation can be established from the review of the available literature regarding the identified problem. The scope can be of four types: exploratory, descriptive, correlational or explanatory; however, an investigation can also be of a historical, documentary, case study, experimental or other type. Also, at this time you can define the hypothesis of the investigation.

Based on the above, the design of the research that constitutes the plan that will be followed to obtain the necessary data to prove or reject the hypotheses is carried out. Also, the design of a quantitative investigation must be considered before collecting any data, although if it is qualitative research, the design can be flexible and adapt while the data is being collected, as explained in Table.

Stages of the research process, according to type of study

Birth of the project: The idea

  • Quantitative & Qualitative – All research is born from a novel idea that should encourage the researcher to generate useful results for humanity (theories or problem solving).

Problem Statement

  • Quantitative – Refine and structure the idea, developing: objectives, questions, justification, feasibility and evaluation of deficiencies.
  • Qualitative – Deepen the phenomena. Raise objectives and questions more general and enunciative, and justify.

Literature review

  • Quantitative – To theoretically support the study with theories, theoretical approaches, studies and background in general related to the problem; the problem is refined if necessary.
  • Qualitative – It has a secondary role. It is used for the approach of the problem and the justification of the study.

Definition of the scope

  • Quantitative – Establish the result to be obtained with the project: explore, describe, relate or explain.
  • Qualitative – They are oriented to learn from the experiences of individuals and generate theories. It starts with an initial immersion in the field, which is the total.

Hypothesis formulation

  • Quantitative – Establish tentative statements about the relationships between the variables identified. The hypothesis can be research, null, alternatives or statistics.
  • Qualitative – They are not established before entering the environment and start collecting data, but during the investigation, they are generated and refined (they can be the result).

Research design

  • Quantitative – Define the plan (experimental or not) to obtain the information to analyze the certainty of the hypotheses.
  • Qualitative – They are open, expansive, not addressed at the beginning. It can be a theory, ethnographic, or action research.

Selection of the sample

  • Quantitative – Raise about who or who will collect the data and delimit the population (probabilistically or not).
  • Qualitative – It is not defined in a probabilistic way. It can be of volunteers, experts, cases-type, by quota or oriented.

Data collection

  • Quantitative – Select, adapt or design instruments (reliable and valid) to collect data (measure), apply them, and prepare data to facilitate analysis (in table).
  • Qualitative – It is done almost in parallel with the sampling and analysis. The instrument is the researcher: observe, interview, analyze documents, etc.

Analysis of data

  • Quantitative – Explore the data in the statistical program, evaluate reliability and validity, conclude on the hypothesis, etc., and prepare results for its presentation.
  • Qualitative – Receive unstructured data (visual or auditory narrations, texts, and verbal and non-verbal expressions) that the researcher structures and interprets.

Elaboration of the report

  • Quantitative – Prepare a report for the user of the results (academic or not).
  • Qualitative – Prepare a results report; more flexible than the quantitative one.

Also, as explained above, depending on the type of research will depend on the way to define the sample of objects or subjects to be studied, the way to collect and analyze the data that allow meeting the objectives of the project established at the beginning. For example, in quantitative research, data collection should be with the use of reliable and valid instruments that apply to a large number of subjects, and the data obtained should be processed with support in software that allows performing statistical tests corresponding.

For its part, a qualitative study does not seek to generalize the results, so that only data from a few subjects are obtained from various methods such as observation, interviews and analysis of documents; the data obtained in this type of study is not necessarily processed statistically, but the researcher decides the best way to present them to facilitate their interpretation.

Finally, regardless of the type of project developed, at the end of the investigation the results must be documented in a report, written specially according to the reader to whom it will be addressed. It is important to know each of the stages of the scientific research process, as well as the results obtained from each, so that in this way, any researcher can know in advance what to expect when developing research, and ensure that the objectives are met. Otherwise, it is possible that the initial idea that is raised cannot be developed, reworking is necessary or relevant and relevant results are not obtained as is expected for any research project.

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