What Define Good Social Research?

The best research arises from a strong felt need by the researcher in order to solve a problem or answer a question. Image source: Gharpedia
The best research arises from a strong felt need by the researcher in order to solve a problem or answer a question. Image source: Gharpedia
Rifat Afroze
Written by Rifat Afroze


The question of what defines good research is a great deal of attention, but too often it is conceived principally as a methodological question rather than an ethical one. A good investigation is a matter not only of suitable procedures but also beneficial aims and results to serve people well-being. There should be a good deal of history and convention against such a concept of researcher’s work. High-quality investigation gathers knowledge that produced others in the past, produce new knowledge for himself and his readers also (Hostetler K, 2005). Undoubtedly, the best research arises from a strong felt need by the researcher in order to solve a problem or answer a question.

Strategies for good research

Some basic things need to be considered to produce excellent research. Firstly, in devising a project, a researcher should have a clear and rational concept on study design, statistical methods, and ethical concern as well as good recourses. The followings are some factors that need to be considering before starting a research process.


Good research requires a well structured and relevant working plan. Planning is a systematic process that covers all the relevant points of data collection and reports the results. To formulate a project, the researcher should have a clear rationale for constructing research questions and an awareness of the key factors that will influence the success of the project. These factors may comprise study design, statistical methods, assemble required recourses and other study-related materials. It is the responsibility of researchers to set data quality control arrangements in order to ensure the quality of data at the planning stage. In addition, funding is a crucial issue that needs to pay more concentration at the initial stage of planning. Besides this, it needs to be cautious that any types of conflict like legal, ethical, moral, financial, institutional, and personal or any other nature is to identify and declare so that it cannot become a complicating or actionable issue in future. Moreover, it has to be noted that the study objectives would be significant in relation to the current issue of society (Denscombe M, 2003). Last but not least, there is sufficient time should be reserve for designing the project, collecting data and analyzing the results.

Ethical Consideration in research

Researchers should take into account the ethical issues and seek the guidance of some appropriate ethical committee who establish an effective and efficient mechanism for the study. It is to be mention that, no misrepresentation in dealing with research subject is strictly avoidable. Furthermore, a clear documented ethical approval must be made using an appropriate and easy format where if there are any significant change arises it must be reported to the body which granted the ethical approval.

Data in research

Good research cannot be formulated without having accurate and consistent data. The effect of personal values, beliefs and background create biasness, researchers should strictly avoid expressing their own judgment in front of their respondents. In addition, he should have the openness to accept what his data shows and acknowledge the limitations of the research approaches or instruments that are adopted. Moreover, the researcher should have a keen knowledge of the sources of errors in the data collection procedure. For getting valid and reliable data a quality control system should be designed before going to the field. What is more, researchers should keep clear and accurate electronically records of data as well as the methods that followed in the research project.


The research paper should publish in a standard form that constructs distinguish journals. It is the best system for reviewing study results and make available to the community for verification. Researchers should observe the standard practice in guidelines published by scientific societies and other professional bodies. However, the profitable organizations are showing less interest in academic practices in research rather than capture commercial values. Another issue is authorship, which is a significant context of good research practice. Appropriate contribution to authorship may include undertaking a substantial part of the work or a vital contribution on research design, analysis and writing of the study output. Besides this, high-quality research requires honesty in every action in research and responses to the action of other researchers. Lastly, after finishing the research project, the researcher should encourage other researchers to be as open as possible in discussion for giving their valuable feedback on research methods and results.

Good sources

The literature review in social science is an important foundation for a research project, as it helps to frame and strengthen research question as well as hone analytical skills (Gilbert N, 2008). Identify what is going to achieve, outline the factors of research questions, measure the effectiveness of previous research methods and explore the relationship between theory and practices- these are the significance of literature review. Good quality research needs good published, peer-reviewed, varied (books, scholarly journals, website), recent and sufficient number of sources. A competent researcher never satisfied by one or two resources. If a researcher can no longer ask the question, ‘what is then’ and he has the answer then he no longer need to do research.

Describe limitations

Every study has some shortcomings. For instance: less reliable data, non-representative sample, budgetary/time/legal/ethical constrain and so on. Researchers should acknowledge the limitations so that the finding of this investigation is acceptable by considering those limitations. In addition, in case of doing further study researcher need to conscious on this issue.

Some others factors need to consider about in case of using qualitative or quantitative or both approaches. These are summed below.

Qualitative Research

All qualitative researchers are philosophers in that ‘universal sense in which all human beings are guided by highly abstract principle’ (Bateson, 1972). In this type of research, researchers act as a tool of data collection. The study design is less rigid and is useful to increase researchers’ imagination. The qualitative study requires detailed data and the researcher needs diverse thinking capability (Silverman, 2006). Denzin and Lincoln (2003) said that detail qualitative data able to explore issues, identify reasons, underlying factors and origins, gathering suggestions/solutions and a new understanding of different kinds of social phenomena.

Quantitative Research

This type of research deal with quantifiable data on a large number of people who are known to be representative of a wider population in order to test theories or hypothesis has been viewed many researchers. That means, it is essential to understand different theoretical frameworks and their perspectives on the objective of the study. Theory building is important because it provides a structure of analysis that facilitates the efficient development of the field and make it applicable to real-world problems. The explicit use of concept and theories is a part of good research practice and it can inspire a fresh way of looking at the social world and also suggest new angles of the approach of enquiry. The analytical mathematical research methodology now being popular and appears to be over-researched. On the other hand, theory building in operations management is not developing evenly across all methodologies so that the analytical and establishment of causal relationship are under-researched. Finally, to produce outstanding quantitative research, need to alert on analyze and describe how to conceptualized abstract concept (so that it can be measured), identify and apply appropriate design, identify dependent and independent variables and data analysis and presentation process.

Mixed Approach

To begin a project based on a mixed approach, researchers should make some crucial decisions on study questions, literature review and the choice of methods in order to fulfil their research aim. The researcher must have enough skill to combine different types of methods in a single project properly. This mixed research increase the accuracy of study findings. However, it is extremely challenging to compare and contrast these two types of findings. The quality of mixed method research depends on researchers’ expertise in triangulation, complement, development, initiation and expansion of findings or methods.


In summary, good research is well informed, thorough, systematic and capable to generate new knowledge. And good researcher is who can able to extract relevant information from huge information that is valuable for his research. Besides this, he should be able to convey the study in an accessible format. The data presentation and interpretation should be simply and easily described that make interest in the readers’ mind. That means, if the findings are effortlessly understandable for the readers and useful for the policymakers, researchers’ sincerity is visible.


Silverman, D. (2006). Interpreting Qualitative Data. london: Sage.
Denzin, N.K. Lincoln Y.S 2003. Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials. (Ed.),CA: Sage


Batson, G. (1972). Steps to an ecology of mind. New York: Ballantine.
Denscombe, M. (2003) The Good Research Guide. Berkshire: Open University Press.
Gilbert, N.(2001) Researching Social Life. London: Sage.
Hostetler, K., 2005. Sage Journals online, [e-journal] 34(6):(16). Abstract only.
Available at:
[Accessed 10 November 2009].

About the author

Rifat Afroze

Rifat Afroze

Rifat Afroze is a Staff Researcher of the Research and Evaluation Division of BRAC, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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