WANTED: Perfect Research
Griffith once said that “there is no hope of doing a perfect research.”
There is no established standard that can be used in determining whether a particular research is perfect or otherwise. Thus, this writer’s response to whether he agrees or otherwise to Griffith’s contention that “there is no hope of doing perfect research“(qtd. in Gateworth 1 ) is hypothetical and grounded on the following: how the phrase perfect research is operationally defined; and whether or not the objectives for which the research is designed for are attained or not.
For the first point, the word perfect in the phrase perfect research is obviously used as an adjective. The word aforementioned then must be treated as such. Out of the definition and synonyms for the word perfect provided in the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary, this writer wishes to focus only on the following: “being entirely without fault of defect.”
If perfect research would be defined as an undertaking that is entirely without fault or defect, in short faultless, then this writer would agree to the contention which Griffith made. There would indeed be no hope of making a perfect research in that sense.
Research as a process maybe perfect for it corresponds to set standards. However, there is something in the process itself that makes it not impeccable – that is the identification and selection of variables.
Ariola stated that “variables are the conditions or characteristics that the experimenter manipulates, controls or observes” (121). Variables may either be independent or dependent although there are also secondary variables namely moderator, control and intervening.
In a causal relationship, Ariola explains that the independent variable is the presumed cause of the dependent variable. Conversely, the dependent variable is the consequence of the independent variable (122).
In the research process, the researcher would examine an observed phenomenon (e.g. school effectiveness) which would serve as (or reflect) the dependent variable. Thereafter, the researcher selects which independent variable he would measure, manipulate or select to determine its relationship to the observed phenomenon. It is at this juncture that a deficiency of the research as a process sets in.
When more variables are factored and correlated the higher the accuracy of the results of a research undertaking becomes. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to select all the necessary independent variables to test against an observed phenomenon. This is due to several constraints (e.g. time, resources, personal limitations) that a researcher may encounter. These are factors beyond the control of the researcher that may prevent him from including the most ideal number of independent variables.
This limitation on the selection of independent variables, together with the existence of some intervening variables that may not be properly detected, would make it really difficult to do a perfect research.
For the second (and last) point, if the sole criterion in classifying research as perfect is whether or not the objectives for which the research is designed for are attained then perfect research is doable.
The primary objectives of research are (1.) to increase the sum of knowledge and (2.) to find solutions to existing problems. The first is the purpose of Pure Research and the second Applied Research. “A present study,” as Adanza puts it, “ may serve only as a venue of confirmation, revision or negation of previous findings” (1). But she added, “such results are still new which add knowledge” (1).
One of the synonyms of the word perfect which the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary provides is complete. Thus, when a researcher attained his objectives, came out with the answers to the general and specific problems, correspondingly tested the hypothesis/hypotheses, arrived at a conclusion and proposed recommendations – then his tasks were completed, his research is complete, it is perfect. And if his research undertakings resulted either to a discovery of a fact previously unknown or to the presentation of solutions to certain problems then the purpose for which his research was made is consummated or has attained completion. Then all the more that his research, as far as this writer is concerned, would be considered perfect.
Gateworth, Victoria. “Re: Academia Test.” Message to Mad Ligaya. 13 May 2011. E-mail.
Merriam-Webster. An Encyclopedia Britannica Company. Web. 17 May 2011.
Ariola, Mariano. Principles and Methods of Research. Manila: Rex Book Store. 2006. Print.
Adanza, Estela. Research Methods: Principles and Applications. Manila: Rex Book Store. Print.