What is Research Methodology?

What is research?

Although research and exploration are familiar words, these words sound different.

It may not be possible to call a piece of research (studying a subject or even thinking about it in articles and books) a study. Generally, a researcher may raise questions that no one has ever responded to. Sometimes, the initial answer to the question may be mentioned in other books and studies; however, the researcher may not be convinced by the responses and wants to expand his/her knowledge in this regard. Sometimes, the researcher may find contradictory and confusing responses to his/her questions in various sources. In this situation, it is necessary to carry out a research process. Research is the systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of data in order to answer a question or solve a particular problem.

In addition, any attempt to understand the unknown and extend the information is called research. Although human beings tend to do research instinctively, it is necessary to conduct it based on the academic models of the principles and foundations of research.

Types of research

There are various views toward research; therefore, there are different research categories.

  • The first research group includes:
  • Fundamental research
  • Applied research
  • Applied-fundamental Research

The second research group is categorized based on the research hypotheses and study design before or after data collection.

It includes:

  • Deductive research
  • Inductive research


  1. This kind of research is less reliable and it is the main cause of the most article
  2. This research is cost-intensive and the researcher may not reach any logical conclusion.
  3. Most research projects utilize both methods. However, the first important thing is that the inductive part does not disrupt the main process. The second point is that the deductive part has a larger inference and focus.
  4. The inductive section of the studies is presented in the secondary findings

Writing a Research Article

 After you have completed your study and got your conclusion, you want to inform the world about your findings. In order to do that you must extract a research article from your study and submit it to the right journal.

As you may already know, the articles have the basic IMRAD structure (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion). In some journals, this order has undergone some change and they place methods at the end of the article or allow the authors to combine the results and discussion. To know the research article structure, you should, first of all, select your target journal and then study their author guideline which is usually inserted in the journal’s website.

Selecting the journal

Choosing your target journal is very important because it affects what you want to emphasize in communicating your findings to others. For instance, if your research is in endocrinology but related to cardiology as well, you will communicate your findings differently for the audience interested in cardiology in comparison to those searching for findings in endocrinology. Therefore, when writing your research article, you should always keep your target audience in mind.

Developing your article’s elements

It is better to start with the introduction because it helps you to develop the story you are to tell the reader. In this step knowing your target journal is important. If you have a cardiology audience in mind, in the introduction you should frame your study in the context of what would interest cardiology readers. But you will put stress on endocrinology more if your target journal is an endocrinology publication. The article  Differences Between Abstract and Introduction of a Research Paper helps you in writing your introduction.

It is better to write your result section after the introduction section. Writing results before the discussion helps you organize the way you want to discuss them and gives you the chance to review the discussion and maybe uncover new implications. In drafting the result section, keep in mind that visuals communicate a detailed story much easier than words. Therefore, it is a good idea to communicate your results through the use of images, figures, and tables. Avoid repeating your results several times in text, figures, and tables. Try to summarize patterns or trends in the text but give details in a table or figure, but not both.

After you presented results in a clear and logical way and finalized the inferences you draw from them, it is time to put your focus on messages for your readers.

Determine your main messages

You repeat your key message several times in your research article submission: in the title, the abstract, the discussion, and in conclusion. Depending on the journal style, the takeaway you believe to be the most important (the key message) comes at the end of your introduction as well. This repetition helps you to communicate your central message several times. But this can be a disadvantage in case you have not phrased your key message clearly.

Considering the fact that you are supposed to reiterate your main message several times, take time to pinpoint what these main messages are. Restrict yourself to one or two key messages and write and rewrite them until you phrase them in clear and concise language so that they are understandable even to no experts. Alter this central message a little at each place it appears in your manuscript, but they always resonate with each other, reinforcing your central message.

Develop your discussion

Your key message determines the way you draft your discussion. The discussion informs the reader about your most important findings and relates them to previous work. Explain how your results agree or disagree with those of others and give the reason why your work might not be in agreement.

In most research articles there is a strength and limitation section that comes at the end of the discussion section. In this section, you provide the parts of your study design that highlight the validity of your findings (e.g., large population size, randomization, tight controls) and the parts that might weaken conclusions (e.g., small populations, observational, potential for residual confounding). Try to initiate and end your discussion with the key message of your article. Some journals ask for a “conclusion” section for this purpose. In others, the last paragraph of your discussion can be your conclusion which contains your main message one more time


The approach to repeat the sequence of elements in your manuscript is “parallelism”. Try to create a pattern like this and follow it through all parts of your manuscript. Applying this parallel approach of organizing each element in the same order in the methods, discussion, and results sections, the reader will identify the pattern and follow your research paper more easily.


The abstract is mostly the only section of your article that people read after the title. It is an opportunity for you to offer the gist of your research article in no more than 250 words, so you need to make it count. Therefore, you should include only the most important information in the abstract. Briefly tell your readers why you did the study, how you did it, what have been your finding and what are the implications. The main messages that you extract should appear in your abstract conclusion.

Research background

In order to coordinate your study with other similar studies, researchers need to expand their awareness by referring to documents related to the chosen subject. The aim of the research background section is to consider the following points.

A) Establishing a logical connection between the previous research information and the research issue

B) Getting familiar with the theoretical or empirical framework of the research question

C) Getting familiar with research methods used in past research

D) Preventing repeating a work

E) Utilizing the useful experiences of previous researchers

A) Raising awareness of the weaknesses of previous research

Content of a Research Paper

One of the most important aspects of a scientific paper is its scientific content and qualitative value. A paper must report important findings in human knowledge and contain a clear So before writing a paper, the researcher must ask her/himself whether his ideas are important enough to be published. Will others benefit from it? Will the results of this research affect others’ work? Here we will point out some important principles of research content which will help you improve the quality of your paper.


It is an attempt to discover the unknown using existing sciences. Thus, the most fundamental aim of scientific research is to illuminate the unknown. Thus, every scientific research seeks to answer questions that have not yet been perceived by the audience. So, scientific research always begins by asking one or more questions that the researcher seeks to answer.


Logic teaches us the right way to think and reason and is the essential tool of a scientific paper. A researcher must be capable of reasoning, content analyzing, and drawing conclusions. All the researchers should pay attention to the logical features of a scientific paper, including rules of definition, classification, inductive and deductive reasoning, as well as different sampling methods.

Cohesion and Coherence

The relevance of various parts of the article to each other and to the main title as well as the subtitles of the article makes a research paper cohesive and coherent. Thus, the researcher should separate the subtitles of his article based on a logical order. She/he should also identify the relationship between the sections.


The purpose of the research is to answer questions that have not been reasonably answered, at least for the researcher. So, any scientific research must, on the one hand, discover new knowledge, and on the other, complete the existing knowledge. The main purpose of the research is to discover or supplement human knowledge, not to repeat it in different terms.

Relevance to the Current Needs of the Scientific Community

All scientific research should consider the basic needs of its scientific community and seek to address those issues. So, the author should avoid topics that are not of priority in the field of research and that the scientific community does not need.

Creativity and Innovation

Scientific research which possesses fresh and original ideas can be successful and effective in promoting the level of knowledge. Articles that only collect ideas from here and there, do not play a major role in the advancement of human knowledge.

Essential Explanation

One of the things that the researchers should note in their own research report is to avoid extreme marginalization and over-exaggeration. But this should not result in vagueness.

Relevance to the Theories

Each discipline consists of theories and rules that are agreed upon by those skilled in that field. The findings of any research should not conflict with the general rules of that field.

Avoiding Generalization

The final goal of a research paper is to propose a hypothesis and explain one of the important principles of that hypothesis. So, the researcher must be able to explain her/his scientific theories clearly and avoid generalization.

Reporting the Research Methodology

Research methodology is defined as a systematic way to solve a research problem by collecting data using various techniques, providing an interpretation of the collected data, and drawing conclusions about the research data. A research method is fundamentally the blueprint of the research or study.

Methodology vs. Methods

“Methodology” and “methods” are mistaken for each other a lot in research, especially since the two are sometimes used interchangeably. Methods and methodology in the research context refer to two things that are related but not the same. The method is a technique that is used in collecting data. The methodology is something else, and in fact, refers to the basic theory and analysis of how research is conducted. Similarly, Bricks and Mills (2011) define methodology as a set of principles and ideas that demonstrate the design of a research study. In addition, methods are practical approaches that are used to create and analyze data (Bricks and Mills, 2011, p. 4).

If we summarize these definitions, the methods cover the technical steps taken to conduct the research, and the methodology explains the basic reasons for using specific methods in this process.

Do You Need a Methodology Advice?

Methodological Approach or Methods Used in Research

Traditionally, academic researchers have often conducted research studies through two distinct models called the positivist and phenomenological approaches (Collis and Hussey, 2013). Phenomenological and positivist approaches, sometimes also called quantitative and qualitative approaches (Dumay, 2008), respectively, play a significant role in determining the process of data collection, and especially the methods you intend to use for your research.

Research methodology forms the basis of your research. According to Neil McInroy, executive director of the Center for Local Economic Strategies, not using the right research methods and designs creates a weak foundation for any future review, evaluation, or strategy (Macdonald et al., 2008, p. 9). In research, two basic methods are used for these approaches, namely quantitative and qualitative research methods.

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