Steps of Research Process


When researchers address a problem or answer a question-it is called study.
It is also referred as investigation research project.
 The people who are being studied are referred to subjects/study participants.
Researcher/investigator: The person who under takes the research.

 Phenomena : are concepts/abstractions formulated by generalizing about particular manifestations of human behavior and characteristics.

Theory: is systematic abstract explanation.

Concepts: are building blocks of theories.Conceptual models: virtual representation of concepts

Variables: Something that varies. E.G. weight, B.P., temperature varies and differ person to person. E.g. smoking causes Lung cancer.

Continuous variable: Variable that can take a wide range of different values. E.g. when looking at height, one can assume a height of178, 178.1, 178.2. . . 178.9.

Discrete variable: That has finite number of values between any two points. E.g. No. of children. Value is discrete.

 Dependent Vs Independent variable-
Presumed cause – independent variable
Presumed effect – dependent variable
E.g.- Smoking causes lung cancer
Attitude of nurses towards abortion

 Multiple independent & dependent variables:-
2 or more dependent & independent variables: E.g. Comparing effectiveness of two methods of nursing care delivery for children with

when an attribute is extremely varied in the group under investigation, the group is said to be heterogeneous with respect to that variable.

If amount of variability is limited, the group is described as
Eg. Variable height of 2 years children likely to be more homogenous than group of 18 years adolescents.

Operational definitions-Researcher clarifies and defines the variables under investigation. Definition specifies how the variable will be observe and measured in the actual research situation.

Data: Are the pieces of information obtained in the course of investigation.

Quantitative data – Numeric form – using scoring/scale.

Qualitative data – Narrative form

 Hypothesis: Is a prediction about the relationship between two or more variables.

Simple hypothesis: Expected relationship between one independent and one dependent variable.

Complex hypothesis: prediction of relationship between two /more IV and/or two/more DV

Research /alternative hypothesis: Research/substantive/declarative/scientific hypothesis –statements of expected relationship between variables.

 Null/statistical hypothesis: Expressed as an expected absence of relationship. State that there is no relationship between the IV and DV.

Directional hypothesis:-
Directional hypothesis specifies not only the existence but also the expected direction of the relationship between variables.

Non directional hypothesis:-Non directional hypothesis does not stipulate the direction of the relationship .E.g.. Older patients are more risk for fall than younger patients

Hypothesis testing :-Are formally tested through statistical procedures to determine whether their hypothesis have high probability of being
correct. Hypothesis are never proved but they are accepted or supported.

  • Steps of Research Process –Series of various action, which are necessary to effective research work.
  • Defining a problem- What does the definition of the problem mean? To define a problem means to specify it in detail and with precision. It means to put a fence (boundaries) to it. Each question and subordinate questions to be answered is to be specified. The limits defined. The statement of the problem and objectives stated pointed out the method of the study and the population on whom the result is to be generalized. A well-defined problem directs all research procedures.
  • Determine the purpose of the study- There must be a sound rationale or justification for every research project. If the purpose of the study is clearly presented and justified, the researcher will be more likely to receive approval for the study.
  • Review of literature- Research should build on previous knowledge. Before beginning the study, it is important to determine what knowledge exists for the study topic.
  • Once you have identified the problem, you need to examine what has been done already in your subject area and what is yet to be done. The review of literature involves mainly the research literature.
  • Develop a theoretical and conceptual framework –The goal of research is to develop scientific knowledge. Research and theory development are interlinked. Research can test theories as well as help to develop and refine theories. Thus theoretical frameworks are valuable part of scientific research. Theoretical and conceptual framework will assist in selection of the study variables and in defining them. The framework will also direct the hypothesis and interpretation of the findings.
  • Identify the study of assumptions- Assumptions are belief that are held to be true but have not necessarily been proved. Each scientific investigation is based on assumptions. These assumptions should be stated clearly.
  • Acknowledge the limitation of the study. Researcher should try to identify study limitations or weaknesses. Limitations are uncontrolled variables that may affect study results and limit the generalizability of the findings. In nearly every nursing study, there are variables which are uncontrollable. These are called extraneous variables. For example, the educational level of subjects would be study limitation if researcher could not control this variable and it might influence the study results.
  • Formulation of hypotheses-A researchers expectations about the result of a study is expressed as hypothesis. It predicts the relationship between two or more variables. Whereas the problem statement asks a question, the hypothesis furnishes the predicted answer to the question. Hypothesis links the independent variable (cause) with the dependent variable (effect).
  • Define study variable/terms- The variables and terms in the study, hypothesis and research questions need to be defined so that their meaning is clear to the researcher and reader of the research report. In addition to the dictionary or a theoretical definitions, a variable should be operationally defined. An operational definition indicates how a variable will be measured.
  • Select the research design-Research design is the plan for how the study will be conducted. It is selected which is most appropriate to test the study hypothesis or answer the research question. Research designs can be classified as quantitative or qualitative. They also can be classified as experimental or non-experimental.
  • Identify the population-Population is complete set of individuals or objects that possess some common characteristics of interest to researcher. A target population is a group to which the researcher wishes to generalize the study findings. Accessible population is the group that is actually available for study by the researcher.
  • Select the sample- A sample is a sub-group that is chosen to represent the population. Probability samples are those chosen by the random selection process in which each member of the population has a chance of being in the sample. There are several types of probability samples, non-probability sample which will be discussed in Unit 4 of this block.
  • Conduct a pilot study- It is advisable to conduct a pilot study or miniature, trial version of a study before the actual data are collected. People are selected for the pilot study who are similar in characteristics to the sample that will be used for actual study. The purpose of pilot study is to find out the feasibility of the study, test the instrument to be used, select the appropriate methodology and instruments and identify potential problems in data collection.
  • Collect the data-Data are the pieces of information's that are collected during the study and after data are collected, they are organized, analyzed and interpreted. Finally the last phase of the study involves communicating of results.