Part 1 - Foundations
Chapter 1 - Research foundations
1.1 The research enterprise
Definition of research A type of systematic investigation that is empirical in nature and is
designed to contribute to public knowledge.
Every little piece of research conducts to the research enterprise. There have been done
multiple research projects about the same topic. Each research has its own conclusions and
thereby contributes to the knowledge of that topic.
The research enterprise The macro level effort to accumulate knowledge across multiple
empirical systematic public research projects.
Most research discoveries don’t directly impact our lives. You have to translate and conduct
multiple individual discoveries to get a practical use and have impact on our live. This
process is cal ed research practice continuum.
Translational research The systematic effort to move research from initial discovery to
practice and ultimately to impacts on our lives.
Research practice continuum The process of moving from an initial research idea to
practice, and the potential for the idea to influence our lives or world.
Types of research by practice continuum:
Basic research Research that is designed to generate discoveries and to understand how
the discoveries work.
Applied research Research where a discovery is tested under increasingly control ed
conditions in real world context.
Implementation and dissemination research Research that assesses how wel an
innovation or discovery can be distributed and carried out in a broad range of contexts that
extend beyond the original control ed studies.
Policy research Research for the broader population that is designed to investigate existing
policies or develop and test new ones.
Impact research Research that assesses the broader effects of a discovery or innovation
Research synthesis A systematic study of multiple prior research projects that address the
same research question or topic and that summarizes the results in a manner that can be
used by practitioners.
Two major types of research syntheses
Meta-analysis Research synthesis that uses statistical methods to combine the results of
similar studies quantitatively in order to al ow general conclusions to be made. (is always
Systematic review Research synthesis that focuses on a specific question or issue and
uses pre planned methods to identify, select, assess, and summarize the findings of multiple
research studies. (may be a quantitative/systematic review)
(Most research syntheses are made by a panel of experts who discuss different research
conclusions) Before the twenty-first century there were no guidelines for doing research and no research
syntheses were made. The effect was that most of the research was done just for publishing,
and not for practical use or impact use. The introduction of research synthesis and
guidelines (specific sets of research based recommendations about validity and practice
use) changed this. This movement is cal ed evidence-based practice.
Evidence-based practice (EBP) A movement designed to encourage or require
practitioners to employ practices that are based on research evidence as reflected in
research syntheses or practice guidelines.
Evolutionary epistemology The branch of philosophy that belief in the evolution
1.2 Conceptualizing research
Requests for proposals (RFPs) A document issued by a government agency or other
organization that looks for a research group. It describes the problem that needs addressing,
the contexts in which it operates, the approach the agency would like you to take to
investigate the problem, and the amount they are wil ing to pay for the research. (Easy way
to get a research topic, other ways are finding a practical problem and to extend or refine
Literature review A systematic compilation and written summary of al of the literature
published in a scientific journal that is related to the research topic of interest. A literature
review is typical y included in the introduction section of a research write-up.
Peer review A system for reviewing potential research publications where authors submit
potential articles to a journal editor who solicits several reviewers who agree to give a critical
review of the paper. The paper is sent to these reviewers with no identification of the author
so that there wil be no personal bias. Based on the reviewers’ recommendations, the editor
can accept the article, reject it, or recommend that the author revise and resubmit it.