4 Essential Steps To Conduct Research

The first step we should consider to conduct research is having a general plan. In survey research, a general plan is also known as a flow plan, and it usually consists of what activities will occur and when.

In simple terms, research is the process in which new knowledge is generated. Therefore, conducting research is an inquiry-based process that includes questions, acquiring information, analyzing and assessing evidence, developing conclusions, and disseminating the knowledge gained.

Before we continue, make sure you get familiar with what research is, definition, research process steps and use in research.

A research plan starts with the study’s objective, continues with various methods you plan to use to collect data, and ends with the final report and summary of the findings.

This article will present the four most important steps you should consider when planning to conduct research. 

Step 1: Research Objectives

The first step you need to do to conduct research is clarifying the objectives of your study. For instance, let’s assume a primary school is asking you to conduct research on the use of discipline practices in all public schools in your city. 

An essential part of your research plan is to contemplate the nature of the question you plan to ask. Do you plan to focus on how penalties are conducted? Is the concern related to the efficacy of the penalty? Or maybe what kind of penalty is used?

Defining the nature of the objectives may need some preliminary interviewing of respondents who will subsequently be interviewed in-depth. 

One of the primary goals of this stage of the research is to define the variables that will be researched, such as penalties and attitudes. 

Both of these terms, which are somewhat ambiguous in their own right, need more clarification and explanation if the researcher’s questions generate any useful information.

Step 2: Identifying A Sample 

Now that we set the objectives, it is time to develop a sampling strategy and collect a sample of individuals who will participate in the research.

NOTE: A sample is a subset of a broader population of people, items, or objects chosen for assessment. To guarantee that the results from the study sample can be generalized to a population as a whole, the sample size should be representative of the population.

Think of all educators and parents of all students in all the public schools in your city. Will they all be eligible to participate? Probably not, since the sample size will be too large and surveying such a big group would be inefficient. 

But how can we find the ideal sample size that can fairly represent a large group to conduct research? 

There are few scientific ways to can calculate the ideal sample size from a population. For instance, you could use a stratified random sample consisting of five parents from each grade from the schools in each district. Likewise, you can do a random sample of each administrator in each school and central administration. 

If students are part of the sample population, you may want to design a strategy that considers how often and for what reasons these students have been disciplined. However, please note that including only students who are often or seldom disciplined may skew the characteristics of the sample resulting in biased results.

Step 3: Defining the Method

Now that we set our objectives and sampling plan, it is time to think about what will happen during the interview. Here are a few questions you should answer as a researcher first: 

  • What type of questions do you plan to ask? Do you plan to include factual information?
  • Will the research questions be open-ended, closed-ended, or a combination of both?
  • How you design each question to be relevant for the research purpose [attitudes, options, etc.]
  • How you plan to identify the respondents to conduct the survey research. Will you include only parents, students, administrators, or all three?
  • How you plan to collect the data [interviews, email, an online survey using Google Forms, etc.]?
  • Will your questionnaire use screening questions to make sure you target the right population?

It is essential to find the answer for each question as part of your research method before proceeding with your survey. 

Step 4: Coding and Scoring

Depending on the format and content of your questions, research surveys might generate long answers or simple yes or no responses. 

After collecting the data, the researcher must code it. For example, number 1 will represent males, and number 2 will be assigned to females. Then it would be best if you scored all the answers in an ordered manner that allows for quick tabulation.

For instance, if the Likert scale is used to answer a question, the number 1 may represent a strong disagreement, number 2 disagreements, number 3 neutral, number 4 agreement, and finally number 5 a strong agreement.

The table below shows a hypothetical example of how data can be collected and scored in a survey setting:

Physical discipline is cruel and ineffective Physical discipline is harsh and unnecessaryPhysical discipline is accepted under certain conditionsPhysical discipline is a useful restraint for poor behaviorPhysical discipline is very effective in controlling  poor behavior
Parents who use physical discipline121481119
Parents who do not use physical discipline51441653
Table 1: Hypothetical example of data collected and scored

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: Can you say conduct research?

There are various opinions on the use of the conduct research term in a research paper. Though the term is somewhat accepted, conduct research is not a count noun from a linguistic perspective. 

Q2: Why do we need to conduct research?

The primary purpose of the research is to guide action, collect evidence for theories, and contribute to the progress of knowledge by filling the gaps in a particular area of study, e.g., healthcare industry, technology, science, etc. Our knowledge would be very limited without research. 

Q3: What is another way to say conduct research?

Mentioning “conduct research” in your paper too many times might be tiresome for the reader. For instance, you can use trial, analyze, investigate, verify, assess, probe, verify. Here is a list of alternative terms to use instead of the “conduct research” term. 

Cite this article in your research paper: