Five Definitions of educational research

There are various definitions of research presented by various scholars and authors. In general, research is a way of thinking and finding answers to the questions that come into your mind. In our day-to-day life, we formulate several question in our mind. We want to get answers for these questions. Some of these questions can be answered easily without any need of scientific scrutiny. While there are also some questions that need to be answered in a logical manner. The process that needs to be followed in finding answers to such question should have to be empirical and subjective. The techniques and procedures that need to be used should also be valid and logical. In this way, we are able to get answers that are authentic and verifiable. The research process also requires scientific scrutiny and the procedures involved in this scrutiny should have to be valid and reliable.

From the above passage, we can conclude that the process that is called research should have the following features:
it should be undertaken in a scientific manner, biases and subjectivity should be avoided;
the process should follow valid and verifiable tools, techniques and procedures;
the process follows the logical and sequential procedures that are established by the academic discipline in which you are conducting research.
The process to be followed in the conduction of the research might be different from one discipline to other. The amount of rigor and control that needs to be applied also varies. In physical and natural sciences the researcher has to apply as much control as possible in conducting the research. In social sciences, the researcher cannot have similar control in the research process. In social sciences the researcher observes behavior, subjectivity cannot be controlled completely. The subjectivity should not be confused with bias, there is no place for bias in the research process.

Definitions of research:

There are several definitions of research, proposed by famous authors and scholars of their time. You will find out that the basic meaning and the context of these definitions are same. The difference between these definitions lies only in the way the author has undertaken research in his discipline.
Research comprises “creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.”[1]

Scientific research is a systematic way of gathering data, a harnessing of curiosity. This research provides scientific information and theories for the explanation of the nature and the properties of the world. It makes practical applications possible. Scientific research is funded by public authorities, by charitable organizations and by private groups, including many companies. Scientific research can be subdivided into different classifications according to their academic and application disciplines. Scientific research is a widely used criterion for judging the standing of an academic institution, such as business schools, but some argue that such is an inaccurate assessment of the institution, because the quality of research does not tell about the quality of teaching (these do not necessarily correlate totally).[2]

A broad definition of research is given by Martyn Shuttleworth – “In the broadest sense of the word, the definition of research includes any gathering of data, information and facts for the advancement of knowledge.”[3]

Another definition of research is given by Creswell who states that – “Research is a process of steps used to collect and analyze information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue”. It consists of three steps: Pose a question, collect data to answer the question, and present an answer to the question.[4]


OECD (2002) Frascati Manual: proposed standard practice for surveys on research and experimental development, 6th edition. Retrieved 27 May 2012 from

J. Scott Armstrong and Tad Sperry (1994). “Business School Prestige: Research versus Teaching”. Energy & Environment 18 (2): 13–43.

Shuttleworth, Martyn (2008). “Definitions of Research”. Explorable. Retrieved14 August 2011.

Creswell, J. W. (2008). Educational Research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.

Post a Comment