The word research itself is very much intriguing. It is a search into what has already been searched for. Sometimes the searcher gets his object of search and sometimes not. Meaning of research can also be taken as a search for something that is lost.
So, searching for a second time what has already been searched refutes the claim that perfection is possible in research. Research programmes in general evolved out of craving of mankind for a perfect, stable, ultimate knowledge about manifold facets of life. But perfect or ultimate knowledge has only an idealistic stance. Because, knowledge is something that exists on an evolutionary platform ever changing its form purpose and all that. Knowledge is evolving constantly. Today’s research result may lose its validity after some years, even after some days or months. As long as there isn’t perfectionism in the realm of knowledge we can not have a standardized approach in the research methodologies. Hence the search process assumes some sort of trial and error method.
A mind involved in “search” is an unrest mind. Consider a life situation in which a person is frantically searching for something lost. He is in chaos till he finds his object of search. In his search he will have to go through many errors. A searching mind will meet with errors very often. It is a fact.
Almost all searches in research satisfy some psychological need. A good researcher is one who has a felt need to solve the problem in hand. A good researcher will have the answer to the question why he has chosen the particular topic for his research. Intensity of his involvement in his research determines how perfect will be his research cruises. Degree of dedication and ensuing accuracy in research steps is more or less subjective.
In my college days I selected the topic “A comparative study between poverty and IQ” to submit for a project. For this I interviewed economically backward students in my locality and assessed their IQ on the basis of academic performance as standardized IQ tests were not available to me on those days. It was only later I came to know that role of academic performance is very meager in determining IQ. Even if it is so,academic performance in determining IQ of the student is more reliable if the syllabus and the curriculum is designed so as to enrich and evaluate personality of students in manifold dimensions.
So research is not intended to be perfect, but to be repeated again and again as it is a journey in search of perfect and ultimate truth. It is a process of bringing unknown into the realm of known while treading along a path called methodologies. It is somewhat similar to treading the path of a religion to find a god who is beyond all religions. All paths and methodologies have their own merits and inadequacies. A particular methodology may show higher degree of accuracy in certain socio-cultural area. Same may prove itself a blunder in another culture.
While doing Msc in psychology the paper I chose for dissertation was “Stability of married life in modern era”. The questionnaire that I used as a tool here in India will be considered as something absurd if I use it in countries like United States.
Qualitative research is very subjective as it depends a lot upon history and information of bygone years to derive a conclusion in favor of a hypothesis. Researcher’s personal views play a great role in it. His research result is his interpretation of life that is unique to him. It may be different from that of others and provide a new angle of vision. But, only when somebody challenges the reliability of his methodology and come forward with a new insight into the same issue we become aware of imperfection of the phenomenon called research. Same is the case with quantitative research. Data collection and analysis of the same is subjected to innumerable tangible as well as intangible factors in the setting where the research is being carried out. Such factors may be sociological, cultural, geographical and even political. They are subjected to change. So research methodology and the process carried out may be perfect at a particular time. But a new research carried out in the same area resulted in refuting the previous research result doesn’t mean that previous research methodology was fallible. To think so is to kill the spirit for search. Without error there is no trial and without trial there is no scope for embracing truth.