MANAGING RESEARCH IN AFRICAN SCHOOLS

Research Methodology
Research Methodology

Let it be clear that Research in common parlance refers to a search for knowledge. One can also define research as a scientific and systematic search for pertinent information on a particular topic. In fact, research is an art of scientific investigation. It is the time that schools in Africa take research methodology seriously.

The Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English lays down the meaning of investigation as “a careful investigation or inquiry specially through search for new facts in any branch of knowledge.”[1] Redman and Mory define research as a “systematized effort to gain new insights.”[2]

Some people consider research as a movement, a movement from the known to the unknown. It is a journey of discovery. We all possess the vital instinct of inquisitiveness for, when the strange confronts us, we wonder and our inquisitiveness makes us probe and attain full and fuller understanding of the unknown. This inquisitiveness is the mother of all knowledge and the method, which man employs for obtaining the knowledge of whatever the unknown, can be termed as research.

Research is an academic activity and as such the term should be used in a technical sense. According to Clifford Woody research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating a hypothesis or suggested solutions; collecting, organizing and evaluating data; making deductions and reaching conclusions; and at last carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they fit the formulating hypothesis. D. Schlesinger 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 the practice of art.”[3]

Research is, thus, an original contribution to the existing stock of knowledge making for its advancement. It is the pursuit of truth with the help of study, observation, comparison and experiment. In short, the search for knowledge through the objective and systematic method of finding a solution to a problem is research. The consistent approach concerning generalization and the formulation of a theory is also research. As such the term ‘research’ refers to the systematic method consisting of enunciating the problem, formulating a hypothesis, collecting the facts or data, analyzing the facts and reaching certain conclusions either in the form of solutions(s) towards the concerned problem or certain generalizations for some theoretical formulation.

[1] The Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English Oxford, 1952, p. 1069

[2] L. V. Redman and A. V. II. The Romance of Research, 1923, p.10.

[3] The Encyclopedia of Social Sciences. Vol. IX. MacMillan. 1990

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