Research can be defined as a systematic approach to finding facts through a carefully designed and conducted study. It seeks to generate new or improve on the existing ideas. As Griffiths (1998, p97) rightly pointed out, ‘there is no hope of doing perfect research’ since it is an ongoing process and ‘evolves in such a way that one person makes a conclusion on some concept and the other person uses the conclusion…to conclude on some other new concept’ (Rahul, 2010).
Naturally, human beings are known to be imperfect. It is therefore so much of expectations to seek a flawless research from them. Nevertheless, there is always a possibility of a good rather than a perfect research. In any case, it is through research that the world has been able to combat many, originally deadly diseases. Through continuous research, the world now boasts of high speed computers which have greatly eased access to information. It is therefore true that good but not perfect research exists.
There are two types of research namely; basic and applied research. As it is commonly known, any type of research follows a specific set of standard procedures. It also depends on many other factors to be a success. Unfortunately at any given time, one or more of these factors are never ideal and these limit the effectiveness of the research being conducted.
In their 1998 book, Reading and Understanding Research, Locke, Lawrence, Stephen, Silverman and Spirduso explore the limitations that are a common phenomenon to any given research work. Apart from problems due to failure to properly to design a study, they cite the issue of data collection as among the major drawbacks. In many instances, samples taken during the research process are mostly estimates and hardly represent the actual numbers on the ground. Scientists therefore, more often than not rely on estimates rather than actual figures, as a basis for their analysis and arriving at their conclusions (46-52).
The following seeks to illustrate the fact that there can be no “perfect” research but instead put more emphasis on the fact that it is a continuous process that gets better with time. For a long time in history, there has been an ongoing research about the origin of man with various scientists expressing different views to explain the same. According to Williams (2005) Lamarck, an 1809 French naturalist believed that ‘all animals and plants, including man’ evolved from ‘certain simple germs’ and that ‘God created matter’. Darwin, a renowned scientist in the world of evolution went on to add to the latter that although matter was created, ‘…one or at most a few germs from which all vegetation and all animals [sic] came by evolution.’ This too has since been modified by later scientists. This clearly demonstrates that although both scientists engaged in research work, neither was perfect and as a result, both theories have been modified in one way and another at present times (p3).
Another research that is worth noting here is the ‘Big Bang theory’ which tries to explain the origin of the universe. This theory is tries to show the sequence of events which led to the formation of the universe but with time, the theory seems not to hold anymore. It has long been viewed as inconsistent and received sharp criticism with alternative models explaining the same having been developed (Hawking & Penrose 1970, pp 529-548). It therefore goes without saying that since the first research about the origin of the Universe begun, there has been a series of ‘researches’ on the same with each coming up with its own conclusions. While we admit and appreciate the importance played by each, none can be considered to be absolutely perfect.
In conclusion, I echo Griffiths’ sentiments that ‘there is no hope of doing perfect research.’ That there are always limitations to any kind of research but despite the challenges, there is always something to learn from it and lastly but not least that research will always continue to play an important role in our lives.
Locke, Lawrence F. Stephen J. Silverman and Waneen Spirduso. “Reading and Understanding Research” California, SAGE Publication, 1998. 46-52. Print
Rajalakshmi Rahul, “No Hope of Doing Perfect Research.” Projectguru.com. 2010 Web 21 November 2011.
Steven W. Hawking, Roger Penrose, “The Singularities of Gravitational Collapse and Cosmology.” Proceedings of the royal society of London, Series A. 314 (1970) 529-548.
William A. Williams. “The Evolution of Man Scientifically Disproved” Sriranganatha.com. 2005 Web 22 November 2011.