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The objectives for this chapter are to:
- introduce the concept of research;
- provide awareness of alternative approaches to research;
- outline the essentials of good research practices;
- discuss the continuum of research – development – practice.
For many people, the prospect of embarking on a research project is daunting. However, if the research project is properly managed then there is no reason why the pursuit of research should not be an enjoyable and ultimately rewarding activity. Dr Martin Barnes, an ex-chairperson of the Association of Project Managers (APM) has described a project as a task or activity which has a beginning (start), a middle and an end; despite much research being carried out as part of a long term ‘rolling’ programme each individual package of research is, itself, a project – an entity complete in itself, whilst contributing to the overall programme.
Indeed, any work which assists in the advancement of knowledge, whether of society, a group or an individual involves research; it will involve enquiry and learning also!
We have already seen that research can be defined as “systematic investigation towards increasing the sum of knowledge”. Thus for practical purposes research can be considered as a ‘voyage of discovery’, whether anything is discovered or not. What is discovered is dependant upon the pattern and techniques of searching, the location and subject material searching and the analysis undertaken. The knowledge and abilities of researches and their associates are important in undertaking the investigative work but, perhaps more especially, in the eliciting of results and drawing of conclusions.
In providing an answer to any question, an amount of research must be done.
This course comprises one (1) assignment.