Fundamental Principles of Research

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Researchers organize their research by formulating and defining a theory. Defining theory helps them focus the research process so that they can draw conclusions reflecting the real world in the best possible way. It can also help deeper understanding of a theory. Another added value of theory in research is to define concepts and proposed relationships between concepts, which are at an abstract level. It can also move by logical thought from fact to theory by means of a proposition stated as an empirical generalization. The literature review is important because it puts off the need to reinvent the wheel for every new research question. More importantly, it gives researchers the opportunity to build on each other's work. What is known (and unknown) can be identified in de subject area, as well as controversies or debate herein, and helping to formulate theories that need further research (Bolderston (2008). It helps to refine or focus a broad research question and is useful for both topic selection and topic refinement. It can also be helpful in developing conceptual or theoretical frameworks (Coughlan et al, 2007, cited in Cronin, Ryan & Coughlan, 2008). In summary, according to Cronin, Ryan and Coughlan (2008), the key points of a literature review include: 1.Undertaking a literature review is a key feature in many courses of study, an essential step in the research process, and is fundamental in the development of clinical practice and policy. 2.Types of literature reviews include narrative or traditional; systematic review; meta-analysis and meta-synthesis. Undertaking a literature review includes identification of a topic of interest, searching and retrieving the appropriate literature, analysing and synthesizing the findings and writing a report. 3.A structured step-by-step approach facilitates the production of a comprehensive and informed literature review (p. 43).

All research begins with a question often driven by intellectual curiosity....
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