Health System Research

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LECTURE NOTES

ON

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Definition
According to Kothari (1990), “the purpose of research is to discover answers to questions through the application of scientific procedures…, the main aim of research is to find out the truth which is hidden and which has not been discovered yet.” In another been, D. Slesinger and M. Stephenson in the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences define research as “the manipulation of things, concepts or symbols for the purpose of generalizing to extend, correct or verify knowledge, whether that knowledge aids in construction of theory or in the practice of, the reasons for, and the consequences of any particular set of circumstances, whether these circumstances are experimentally controlled or recorded just as they occur.” (Kothari, 1990).

Research is a systematized quest for new knowledge. The basic goal of research is to produce knowledge and create new understanding through scientific and logical reasoning. The quest for knowledge is operationalized by means of research which includes exploration, description, diagnosis and experimentation.

Research is also defined as human activity based on intellectual application in the investigation of matter. The primary purpose for applied research is discovering, interpreting and the development of methods and systems for the advancement of human knowledge on a wide variety of scientific matters of our world and the universe. (Ohn Levi Warner Research holding the torch of knowledge (1896) Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Washington D.C.) and also research has been defined to some people, research is simply the process of arriving at dependable solutions to problems through planned and systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of data. To some others, it is te process of discovering and finding the relationship that exist among phenomena. To some others, still research has to do with an inquiry into the unknown or the search for solution to problem or answers to questions. Some authors however explain research as being concerned with finding solutions to problems that relate to search for and advancement of knowledge. So from the above definitions, we understand that research is sequential and is essentially predicated on the existence of a problem requiring solution. It is based on the existence of problem or the compelling need to find answers or solutions to the problems and here lies the difference between scientific procedure or research in academic sense and research in non-academic sense. Scientific research has wide application as it has found favour in all fields of human endeavour – education, engineering, social sciences, business, agriculture and national development among others. In strict business sense the aim of research is to elicit information that will aid business management in taking worthwhile decisions, as essentially the raw material for decision making we have recognized the definition that research is concerned with search for solution to problems. In the business world, managers often come face-to-face with a variety of problems most of which are complex and require considerable amount of data to solve. Where data are not currently available, it is the responsibility of research to gather and analyze them in a systematic manner as to aid the manager in making informed decisions.

The inability of the Nigerian government to stock libraries in the academic institutions with relevant information resources has great implications for learning, teaching, research and development. Realizing this, the Nigerian government has been making deliberate efforts through the National Universities Commission (NUC), National Virtual Library Initiatives and by formulating and implementing relevant information and communication technology policies to facilitate access to relevant and current information for teaching, learning research and development. A virtual library provides value-added...
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