What is research?
Research is understood as a set of human activities aimed at obtaining new knowledge and knowledge, and/or its application to the resolution of specific problems or existential questions.
That is, within this concept are understood all the methods that human beings use to expand, in a systematic and verifiable way, the knowledge they have regarding the world and themselves.
Research has had an important place among human interests since ancient times. It is a method to discover deep truths of the universe and also to resolve concrete, everyday dilemmas, and make life easier, longer and more dignified.
For this reason, research is present in absolutely all fields of human knowledge, scientific, humanistic or social-scientific. As a practice, it has been refined and formalized as the results obtained by it have allowed humanity to rethink its role in the world.
Those who carry out research are usually called researchers, and they usually have a privileged place in academies, professional practice, the technological world and in other areas in which knowledge is valued and actively pursued.
Research can be very diverse and varied, but in general terms it is governed by the requirement of minimum rigor, systematicity and objectivity.
It requires the application of a method that is explainable, understandable and transmittable, and that has the endorsement of specialized third parties. Otherwise, the results of the investigations may be questioned or doubted, since there are methods with greater validity than others in each area of knowledge.
On the other hand, research is always voluntary and active. It implies an interrogative or reflective position regarding the world, one’s own being and our fellow human beings.
All research starts from a hypothesis or purpose and objectives are set along the way. Applying a method, according to the knowledge previously obtained in the area, finally reaches some type of results and subsequently, from its analysis, some type of conclusions.
Types of research
The world of research is so vast that it can be classified in multiple ways, the most important being the following three:
- Depending on the nature of your object of study. Can we talk about:
- Basic, fundamental or pure research. He is interested in purely theoretical knowledge, without bothering to think about its practical or everyday applications. It is formal and pursues knowledge for its own sake.
- Applied research. Quite the opposite: it pursues abstract knowledge as a way to solve real, concrete and everyday problems of humanity, therefore having a greater commitment to immediate reality.
- Clinical or medical research. It is one that makes human health its object of study and is committed to its preservation, restoration or at least to the understanding of its dynamics.
- According to the nature of its variables. That is, depending on the type of procedures used:
- Experimental research. That which attempts to replicate in a controlled environment certain phenomena that occur in nature, in order to manipulate its variables and understand its internal functioning.
- Field research. Those in which the researcher enters the habitat of the problem he seeks to study, going even beyond applied research, since he carries out his methods directly in the place of interest, either to understand the problem or to find a solution. .
- Analytical research. It is a type of research that is based on the comparison or comparison between different variables, in order to establish laws, percentages or formal principles.
- Documentary research . It is one that pursues knowledge in documents: books, magazines, articles, transcripts, files, etc. It is usually of a monographic type, that is, it generates new documents from previous ones thanks to which the written knowledge of humanity is expanded.
- Descriptive or statistical research. It consists of collecting information through polling instruments or surveys, in order to later process it and obtain statistical data that confirm trends, propensities or frequencies.
- According to the level of measurement of the information. That is, depending on the type of questions asked:
- Qualitative research. Its name comes from “quality”, and it is the type of research that is interested in the meaning of things and the interpretation that can be made of them, so its variables rarely involve figures or statistical data, as much as arguments and reflections.
- Quantitative investigation. Its name comes from “quantity”, and on the contrary it deals with measurable or measurable topics, that is, expressible in mathematical, percentage or objective terms, which is why it is usually interested in magnitudes, objectively, without taking into account meanings, only relationships and proportions.
Importance of research
Research is a vital task for humanity, because on it rest the enormous possibilities of understanding the universe that are intrinsic to the human brain.
What we consider today as everyday and basic knowledge, in another era were enormous unfathomable mysteries or mere fantasies. It was thanks to the gradual accumulation of knowledge resulting from generations of researchers, that today we know what we know and we are who we are.