What Define Good Social Research?

Bangladesh Education Article
Bangladesh Education Article
Written by Goutam Roy

‘Research is to see what everybody else has seen and to think what nobody else has thought’ – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1937)

The question of what define a good research is a great deal of attention, but too often it is conceived principally as a methodological question rather than an ethical one. Good research 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 research gather 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 an excellent research. Firstly, in devising a research project, researcher should have a clear and rational concept on research design, statistical methods, and ethical concern as well as good recourses. Followings are some factors need to be considering before starting research or in research process.


A good research requires a well structured and relevant working plan. Research planning is a systematic process which cover all the relevant points of data collection and report the results .To formulate a research project, researcher should have clear rational for constructing research questions and an awareness of the key factors that will influence the success of the project. These factors may comprise in 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 planning stage. In addition, funding is a crucial issue that needs to pay more concentration at initial stage of planning. Besides this, it is need 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 research objectives would be significant in relation to current issue of the society (Denscombe M, 2003). Last but the not list, there is a sufficient time should be reserve for designing the research project, collecting data and analyzing the results.
Ethical Consideration
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 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.

A 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 his own judgment in front of his 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 is adopted. Moreover, researcher should have a keen knowledge on the sources of errors in data collection procedure. For getting a valid and reliable data a quality control system should be designed before going to 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 construct distinguish journals. It is the best system for reviewing research results and make available to research community for verification. Researchers should observe the standard practice in guidelines published by scientific societies and other professional bodies. However, the profitable organizations are shows less interest in academic practices in research rather than capture commercial values. Another issue is authorship, which is 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 research output. Besides this, a high-quality research requires honesty in every action in research and responses to action of other researchers. Lastly, after finishing the research project, 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 the social science is an important foundation for 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. A good quality research need 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 no longer need to do research.

Describe limitations
Every research 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 research 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 tool of data collection. The research design is less rigid and it useful to increase researchers’ imagination. Qualitative research requires detail data and researcher needs diverse thinking capability (Silverman, 2006). Denzin and Lincoln (2003) said that a detail qualitative data able to explore issues, identify reasons, underlying factors and origins, gathering suggestions/solutions and new understanding of different kinds of social phenomena.

Quantitative Research
This type of research deal with quantifiable data on 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 researcher. 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 facilitates the efficient development of the field and make applicable toward real world problems. The explicit use of concept and theories is a part of good research practice and it can inspire fresh way of looking at the social world and also suggest new angles of 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 an 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 analytical and presentation process.

Mixed Approach
To begin of a project based on mixed approach, researchers should make some crucial decisions on research questions, literature review and the choice of methods in order to fulfill his research aim. The researcher must have enough skill to combine different types of methods in a single research project properly. This mixed research increase the accuracy of research 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 on triangulate, complement, development, initiation and expansion on 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. Beside 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 into readers mind. That means, if the findings are effortlessly understandable for the readers and useful for the policy makers, 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].

Author: Research Associate, Research and Evaluation Division, BRAC, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Email: [email protected]

About the author

Goutam Roy

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