Which Types of Research Can Be Used to Define Problems?

Research is a lengthy process that comprises of multiple checkpoints where you have to stop at least for once. At each checkpoint, you have to think about the accuracy of the previous steps and make a right decision before moving ahead. Some of these critical decisions have a great impact on the success of the research project, including a selection of a research problem, types of research, the most suitable method for collecting data, and the right choice of method for data analysis. When it comes to defining the research problem, the problems are of three basic types. Simultaneously, the research type for each type of research type also varies to a great extent. To define problems of each type, students must not get confused between types of research. Thus, to solve some of these issues for research students, this article will discuss the types of research to define problems.

Types of research problems:

Before knowing the types of research, let us first recall the basics to define problems. As a matter of course, the problems are the situations or conditions in which an individual faces difficulty and uncertainty in achieving the main goal(s). For example, exam anxiety is a problem when students want to overcome it but cannot. Similarly, the research problem is a statement that is constructed in order to know more about a topic of interest. It can be a condition to improve, a challenge to be eliminated, or a gap in the literature that one should close as soon as possible for the welfare of mankind. Theoretically, the research problems are of three types. The following section provides a brief description of these three types of research problems:

Descriptive research problems:

These problems often pertain to issues that require studying. To put it in another way, the descriptive research problems focus on questions such as ‘What is the issue?’ by keeping in mind the objectives to only describe a situation, event, and existence of a particular phenomenon. These problems have no interest in exploring the reason for the existence of a phenomenon, event, or situation. Surveys, interviews, observations, and opinion polls are suitable methods for collecting data to define problems that are descriptive in nature. The descriptive research problems are the least technical and easy to identify among a list of problems. The following example will further help you to understand and define problems of descriptive type:

Example of descriptive research problems:

What are the main factors influencing customer satisfaction? What is the causative agent of Moneypox disease? What are ways a cell biologist must opt to arrest the cell at the G1 phase of cell division if the mutation occurs? What are the main political and economic features that may impact the launch of a new anti-depressant in the market? Have you noticed, in all examples, the descriptive problems only address ‘what’ aspect of a phenomenon or situation, so researchers who want to define and solve such problems must follow a descriptive type of research. In addition, these problems also explore the ‘when’ and ‘how’ aspects of a situation but remain silent about the ‘why’ aspect. 

Descriptive research types:

The descriptive research type aims to describe a population, event, or situation more systematically and accurately. Simply, these researches take into consideration descriptive problems. Thus, a number of research methods can help us investigate the variables of a study descriptively. Some of these research methods include surveys, observations, and case studies.  

Relational research problems:

Relational research problems are very different from descriptive research problems, as the term ‘relational’ refers to these problems involving interconnected variables. To define problems as relational, the researcher should explore whether a problem under study aims to investigate the qualities or characteristics of variables that are connected in one way or another. If yes, the problem must be a relational one.

2.1 Examples of research types:

How can an organisation enhance employee retention by empowering them? Whether the curricular and non-curricular activities have a positive effect on the regularity of students? What is the possible relation between the attitude, experience, and knowledge level of doctors and nurses in the eradication of the diseases caused by improper hospital waste management? In this type of research, there is no restriction on dealing with the ‘why’ aspect of a problem. Rather, if a problem is investigating the relationships between different variables, then it must be the relational research problem.

Types of research for solving the relational research problems:

To solve the relational research problems, you can use a number of different types of research, such as the expository research method as well as a formative research method. Moreover, the descriptive research method can be used as a part of such problems. The formative research method can be helpful if you have to find the relationship between variables involves in health-related problems. Likewise, expository research types can solve the majority of the relational research problems. 

Causal research problems:

These are problems that aim to explore the cause and effect relationships between the variables. These problems assess the impact of changes on the existing processes.

3.1 Examples of casual research problems:

How does the online teaching affect the student’s professional skills’ development process? How can a change in the dose of medicine affect the recovery time of a patient? How do political factors such as the lack of availability of artificial insulin affect the lifestyle of diabetic patients? In all examples, we have to manipulate one or more variables to see the effect on other. Thus, experimental researches in both controlled and uncontrolled environment are the most appropriate research method to solve or define problems.

Final thoughts:

Research is a continuous process that consists of multiple steps. The accuracy in one step ensures the success of the other. Thus, to achieve the research aims, the researcher must first select a narrow research topic or a research problem. It is the goals of a research that helps define problems. Similarly, it is the research problem that helps in the selection of appropriate research method type to logically solve it. This article explained that the problems are of three types: descriptive, relational, and causal, so the type of research that may help to solve them includes descriptive research, formative or expository, and experimental respectively.

Author Bio:

Robert Fawl is a professional Content Writer based in London, UK. He is an author and blogger with experience in writing different academic assignments. If you need research paper writing services to write your research paper, you can contact him.

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