Research is an academic activity that can be viewed as a quest to seek answers through scientific & systematic approach on information that is pertinent to a specific topic of interest. It is thus the use of an original stock of data to aid in the formulation of a new theory. The ultimate aim of any research is to gain familiarity with a particular phenomenon, to test a hypothesis or to understand a cause and effect relationship.
The first step towards conducting a research is asking that all important question – ‘Why do it?’
Now if the answer to this prompts one to go ahead with it, then the next step is to enunciate the problem at hand, formulate the hypothesis and collect the relevant data. All research starts off with data collection, this can be either Primary data (Data that is collected or obtained from first-hand experience, collected by the researcher) or Secondary data (Data gathered in the past or obtained from another party). This is then followed by:
A research requires the researcher to dwell deep into the subject matter, understanding the problem, the symptoms and finally arrive at a possible solution. Now, some of the latest methods adopted for research use biometric data to a great extent, for example;
Oculometric data is a biometric research technique which tracks the movement of an individual’s eye to understand his gaze pattern and look into his/her cognitive state. This is most widely used to understand where the individual is observing and also helps reveal information such as whether or not the participant is confused, involved or distracted. Pupil dilation is also another technique used to determine the level of excitement or involvement.
Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) measures the electrical conductivity of the largest organ in the human body – the skin. Through the hands of participant’s, researchers have been using GSR to measure an individual’s stress and anxiety levels. GSR has also been used as a method of lie detection. This method can also detect sweat gland activity in response to emotional stimuli. Research has shown GSR responds to a variety of emotions, including fear and anger.
No research can be complete without the element of intuition, that gut feeling which guides you throughout the process, a sort of skill that you acquired through experience, though not conscious. But intuitions are not error free, sometimes they are coupled with biases which can substantially distort our perception and get us off-course from our goals. Some of the typical errors are caused due to over-optimism/pessimism, superficial biases, wishful thinking etc. Understanding these trends will help us avoid them.
All progress is born of doubts, for it leads to inquiry.