Conducting preliminary research is essential to stay on track throughout the research process. As a matter of course, preliminary research refers to early invention effort that assists researchers in developing an interest in a particular area for research. Developing an interest in any field can be done in a variety of ways, such as through discussion with friends/ supervisors, searching terms using research gates, conducting interviews, and reading valuable sources present in campus libraries. Students who are new to research must engage themselves in preliminary research, at least for a short period by following this 10-step guide:
Role Of Preliminary Steps In A Research Process:
As per oxford dictionary, the meaning of the word ‘preliminary’ is ‘preceding or done in preparation for something’; preliminary research is a process that is essential to complete in the pre or early stages of research. Research often starts with the observation of a problem, system, or process and ends by adding something new to the existing knowledge. In particular, the research process comprises eight steps:
- Identification of a problem:
- Reviewing the literature:
- Stating research goals and objectives:
- Choosing the right study design:
- Deciding the sampling technique:
- Collecting data:
- Processing the gathered data:
- Reporting the findings:
All these steps are essential to reach a certain set of consequences about the area of interest. A wrong decision at each step may leave you in a blind street, so preliminary studies are designed to minimise the risk associated with a study. Conducting preliminary research helps researchers in making informed decisions instead of ruining all efforts by making uninformed decisions. In many studies, preliminary researches are not essential; however, in others, you cannot directly design a large-scale study without completing preliminary research.
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Steps For Conducting Preliminary Research:
Preliminary research, like actual research, follows some common steps and starts by deciding on a good research problem. But it may end where you find the chances of getting successful results to reach maximum. In other words, preliminary research may end by describing the sample size or may reach a conclusion step by using a small sample size. Let’s see the steps for conducting preliminary research in the following section:
1-Select A Problem Statement:
Like all research, preliminary researches also start by selecting a problem statement. It is a problem statement that suggests a title for your research. To find one, you can discuss your interest with the supervisors and passed-out students. You can also get opinions from the experts via using the power of social media or get dissertation help online at some affordable writing services for getting better suggestions about research problems.
2-Review Previous Studies To Gather Information About It:
Literature is the backbone of research, no matter whether you are conducting preliminary or detailed research. Reviewing the literature is the technique that guides you in getting advice from work done by the researchers before you. It helps in finding ways that can be applied in order to solve a particular research problem.
3-Make Research Questions:
Make research questions for addressing the aspects that you are planning to relate to a problem statement. While conducting preliminary research, researchers are allowed to only focus on the points with high associated risk. For this, you can narrow down the topic of the research by excluding a few things that can be vital for original research.
4-Set Aims And Objectives:
Preliminary research must also be conducted under the umbrella of certain aims and objectives. Its aims and objectives will help you in keeping your vision clear even in conducting preliminary studies. They allow us to clearly stick to specific goals throughout the research.
5-Decide Research Designs (Qualitative Or Quantitative):
At this step of preliminary research, you must have clear goals, objectives, and research questions to find the most relevant data about the research problem. Based on this clarity, you can decide which research methodology or research design, either qualitative or quantitative, will be more appropriate for conducting preliminary research at first and large-scale research later.
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6-Select Participants For Data Collection:
The selection of the ideal candidates for research is also part of the preliminary research. The success of research depends on the quality of data collected, and good quality data can only be collected from ideal participants that may be living respondents and secondary sources of information such as novels, Journals, and scholarly papers.
7-Choose An Appropriate Sampling Technique:
For collecting data in the form of opinions, experiences, and suggestions, not all members of a population can be included in a study for several reasons. Thus, by choosing an effective sampling technique, one can decide whether random, systematic, convenient, cluster or stratified sampling will help gather the best quality data for achieving a research’s aim.
8-Collect Data From A Small Population:
In preliminary research, failure at a step may cause the termination of a research process. Thus, the sample size for such studies must be small, including only a few participants. If everything goes right in preliminary research, then the same study can be conducted on a large scale to increase its generalizability. Therefore, in such studies, data must be collected by a small population, and replicated results can be used to make final decisions.
9-Analyse The Data To Get Results:
After collecting data from a small population, data analysis helps observe patterns in it. This data must be significant enough to provide complete insights into the matter under discussion. Mathematical modelling is usually used to replicate the results or to find the probability of success if research is applied on a large scale.
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10-Evaluate The Chances Of Success (If The Same Process Will Be Revised By Including A Large Data Set).
The last step in conducting preliminary research is to make a final decision based on the chances of success. If preliminary research ends by giving useful insights, then the same process is repeated to conduct commercial-scale research. If not, then a new research plan is formed after modifying the points that seem responsible for the failure at the preliminary stages.
All in all, conducting preliminary research is important as it aims to make researchers confident about their research plan. It helps them in finding the feasibility of research without wasting excessive resources and time. By following the steps for conducting preliminary research (as described in this article), students can get the best benefits from such studies.