There Is No Hope of Doing Perfect Research

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Published: 23rd April 2013
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Research plays a critical role in the development of modern societies. Human beings conduct research to develop solutions in various fields such as science and technology, medicine, military and other facets of life. In this regard, research is described as “systematic work undertaken on a systematic basis to increase the stock of knowledge , culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications” (Frascati 15). Research results to increase of domains of knowledge by establishing new theories and models. Perfect research is a contested term with proponents and opponents of the term, perfect research, advancing differing views. The term perfect implies that something is without errors or flaws (Thomas and Herbert 27); therefore, perfect research refers to a research without weaknesses or errors. However, procedures involved during the research processes are subject to errors, flaws and weaknesses, thus undermining perfection of research. As a result, just as Griffith opines there is no perfect research (97).
There are two types of research methods namely; qualitative research and quantitative research (Hartman et al. 23). Quantitative research makes use of quantifiable phenomena to establish facts that lead to understanding of situations and establishing solutions to a given problem; qualitative research is concerned with measuring and analyzing people’s feelings and attitude to establish solutions to a given problem. Both research methods are concerned with establishing solutions and increasing knowledge of situations. However, both research methods and their results are perfect as each of the research method carries research errors. Hartman et al. observe that there are two common research errors in each research method namely; random errors and systematic errors (24). Since researchers are unable to eliminate random errors and systematic errors, they try to minimize them. For instance, quantitative researchers are faced with random errors, which they try to minimize to give credibility to their research. Since researchers are unable to eliminate research errors, research findings are therefore not perfect.
Besides research errors, perfection of research is undermined by selection bias or sampling bias, measurement bias and researcher’s bias. Measurement bias is systematic error introduced in the research process by poorly calibrated data collection instruments, leading to inaccurate measurements. For instance, a poorly constructed questionnaire used in a survey collects inaccurate data that results to inaccurate findings. Similarly, in scientific experiments, measuring instruments with calibration errors introduce a measurement bias that leads to inaccurate measurements and inaccurate research findings. Researcher’s bias is unavoidable in research since a researcher need to decide and take sides on research topics, research methods and research findings; as a result, the researcher significantly determines the course of the research and the findings and in the process introduces personal bias, hence undermining the credibility of research results. Research conducted through surveys involves the study of samples to understand population of interest; however, the researcher may choose a sample that is not representative of the population of interest. This results to selection bias, which is also known as sampling bias. Research results obtained from a sample that is unrepresentative of the population gives biased results that undermine perfection of research.
Research is also described as a process carried out to search again facts and theories earlier established; however research results obtained in previous research may not be research outcome in current research findings, thus implying research is not perfect. In such a context, if the research was perfect, findings of earlier research would be similar to the results of current research. Biases and errors in research probably results to discrepancies in the two researches exploring similar research topic. Since it is impossible for researchers to eliminate some errors and biases, it is probable, thus not possible to do a perfect research.

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