Scientific Research Methods

Scientific research is the civilization’s innovative technique to understand the past, deal with the present and look into the future.  This was confirmed by His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior, when he said: "Scientific research is the effective drive for the human society’s progress and evolution, and the mainstay for upgrading the capabilities of all of the UAE sectors".
Writing the scientific research in the form of books and publications requires the researcher to acquire certain values, accurate and specific skills in how to collect, deduce and employ information and prove their sources.  The scientific research has specific properties, methods and steps, which the researcher should abide by to conduct a scientific research that meets the form and content requirements, as follows:

First: Researcher Characteristics

1. Desire for the research topic:

The researcher’s desire is an important factor in conducting a proper scientific research since it is always the motivations behind achieving success and excellence.

2. Neutrality and objectivity:

Neutrality means that the researcher must not make subjective judgment without evidences or proofs.  However, objective researcher uses reason and logic when writing his/her research and provides evidences and proofs that confirm his/her beliefs and conclusions.

3. Rely on scientific facts:

The researcher should not rely on personal observations and assumptions that are not based on fixed scientific facts. His/her research should be supported with evidences or proofs that confirm his/her findings and establish credibility for them.

4. Patience and perseverance:

A researcher faces several difficulties and challenges while searching for the required and appropriate information.  Therefore, he/she should be patient since fulfilling his/her aim requires perseverance and determination to overcome the challenges he/she faces otherwise the research will be doomed to failure.

5. Humbleness:

The researcher should be humble, and avoid arrogance and pride; he/she should not think that he/she is much more important than other researchers due to his/her significant and invaluable conclusions. That is because arrogance leads to the researcher’s downfall as it turns readers away from the researcher and his/her researches regardless of their scientific credibility.

6. Scientific integrity:

The most important trait of the researcher is maintaining scientific integrity, which means providing a reference citation when quoting text and ideas from other source.

7. Ability to carry out the research:

The researcher must be certain of his/her ability to undertake the scientific research and be passionate in the depth of that research and in making the deductions and conclusions whilst writing it.  It is also necessary for him/her to secure the necessary finances for travel, acquisition and photocopying of references, or the purchase of any necessary equipment.

Second:Characteristics of Scientific Research

1. Clarity and Comprehensiveness of the Research Title:

A research paper with a good title shows the researcher’s ability to give a concise summary of the research topic with specific, accurate and comprehensive words covering the research scope, topic, time and place.

2. Accurate Information and Scientific Facts:

The researcher should adopt the scientific research method based on accurate knowledge and fixed facts rather than his/her personal assumptions and judgments. He/she should also support his/her research with proofs and evidences that confirm his/her beliefs, conclusions and recommendations.

3. Research Scope Planning:

Identifying the time and place scope is one of the scientific research fundamentals as it should be limited to specific geographical areas and periods.

4. Innovation and Creativity:

Innovation and creativity do not necessarily mean that the research topic should be unique and unprecedented. However, it means that the researcher seeks to address a substantial and well-known idea related to a particular topic either by completing earlier researches that dealt with this idea or tackle it in a fully comprehensive manner. This will definitely be an added value to human knowledge, which indicates a creative spirit and predicts an enormous research talent and wider scientific imagination.

5. Citation and Referencing:

The researcher should respect the generally accepted research norms in terms of obtaining and verifying the information. He/she should provide the used sources and references in the footnotes including the author’s name, book title, publisher, country/ city of publication, year of publication and page number. Then, he/she should document these references in the bibliography, which include the referred books, bulletins and articles provided that each reference mentioned in the bibliography should also be mentioned in the main body of the research and vice versa.

6. Coherence between the Research Parts:

The research should be coherent and consistent across all its chapters, sections and other parts and in accordance with the scientific bases and methodologies so that each idea leads to the next one consistently. This means that the researcher’s arguments and conclusions should not be dispersed or contradictory as if it is more than one research.

Thirdly: Scientific Research Approaches

The scientific research has several approaches, including:

1. Descriptive Approach:

The descriptive approach is concerned with identifying the characteristics of the phenomenon, subject of the study, and describing its nature, type of relation between its variables and causes in addition to other aspects that deal deeply with the phenomenon. This approach does not aim to collect descriptive data only but also to analyze and interpret them in order to reach specific scientific conclusions.

2. Historical Approach:

The historical approach aims to describe, record, study and analyze the past events and incidents based on accurate methodological bases to reach new facts that help in understanding the present and predicting the future.

3. Experimental Approach:

The researcher relies on scientific experimentation when following the experimental approach in his/her research. Experiments offer the researcher a great opportunity to find out the truth. It can be said that this approach is the most important approach of scientific research as it helps people to achieve through observation and experimentation - correct conclusions and learning clear ways to deal with the various phenomena and explain them scientifically and accurately.

4. Philosophical Approach:

It is a cogitative, mental and analytical approach as the researcher tackles a topic mentally and addresses it based on his/her own thinking to find out the basic and real causes of the problem; subject of study.

5.    Inductive Approach:

The researcher deals with more specific observation to reach general rules and principles, which means that it is a bottom-up approach. It depends on observation, experimentation and various scientific research techniques in place.

6.    Social Survey Approach:

The Social Survey approach is the scientific study addressing a phenomenon or case that exists in a particular group in a particular place. This is one of the most important approaches of scientific research since it provides the researcher with data and information about the phenomena, events and groups of people related to the subject of his/her research.

Fourthly: Steps of Writing a Scientific Research Paper

1.    Selecting a Research Topic:
Selecting a research topic may seems difficult for a researcher either due to the challenges he/she faces when selecting a topic relating to his/her specialization, or lack of knowledge of the feasibility of the research. If the researcher is inclined to a specific subject, he/she should select an essential one and verify its feasibility and the need of his/her country and society to it as well as his/her ability to achieve it completely.

2.    Defining the Research Problem:

The research problem is the core of the study. The researcher may have inquiries and hypotheses in his/her mind about deficiencies, weaknesses or ambiguity in a certain subject, which requires study. He/she should take into account that the research problem lies within his/her academic specialization and research interests and it should be specific and of a scientific and practical value.

3.    Defining the Research Objectives:

The scientific research objectives are the purposes, which the researcher is seeking to achieve through research and investigation. Therefore, he/she should set specific objectives to identify the most necessary subjects, data and information to organize the research in specific parts clearly.

4.    Developing a Research Plan:

The scientific research plan is the researcher’s initial conception of how to write the research paper. It is a semi-detailed road map to be followed during the research.  In other words, it is known as the compass, which shows the researcher the directions during his/her research and through which the research feasibility and the researcher competency could be determined.

5.    Availability of References:

One of the serious problems facing the researcher in carrying out his/her research is the scarcity or lack of relevant references. Therefore, he/she should check the availability of relevant references and information upon the selection of a certain topic in order to save time and efforts and to move to an easier topic if such references are not available.

6.    Research Paper Body:

The research paper body is the main text, which is explained and furnished with footnotes. It is the core and content of the research where the researcher’s ideas, beliefs, analysis, followed procedures, used methods, and justifications for selecting this research are identified. It starts with the title page and ends with the table of content including the headings and subheadings, conclusion, recommendations, appendices, etc.

7. Research conclusions: 

The conclusion comes at the end of the research paper. It should contain a concise statement of the research results, the visions and facts in the field of science and knowledge as well as the nature of the recommendations proposed by the researcher to solve the basic problem and sub-problems.

8.    Research Appendices:

Some scientific researches contain an appendix or appendices that include official or legal documents, photographs or maps used by the research in his research. If any such appendix is included in the research, it is considered as a part of the research. Appendices come after the conclusion and before the Bibliography “references list”.

9.    Bibliography “References List”:

The sources and references list is the basis for the scientific research.  It is the first thing the reader sees so it has a great importance in forming the first impression about the researcher and it is also a way by which the reader verifies the researcher’s scientific integrity. Footnote citation and placing a footnotes list at the end of the research show the researcher’s objectivity and interest in showing the efforts of the others and recognizing their role in enriching his/ her research.