Steps in research process consists of a series of systematic procedures that a researcher must go through in order to generate knowledge that will be considered valuable by the project and focus on the relevant topic.

To conduct  research effectively, you have to understand the research process steps and follow them.

Here are a the steps in the research process;

Step 1: Identify the Problem.

Identification of the Research problem is the first step.

A problem is a question a idea of interests to you and to many others that ought to be answered through data collection. 

While identifying a researchable problem that is interesting. It should be
able to:

       I. Lead to findings that have widespread implications in a particular area.
       II. Challenges the common belief or saying.
       III. Review the inadequacies that are existing.
       IV. Cover a reasonable scope (not too general or too narrow.
In the nursing profession research problem may come from clinical situations, training literature
reviews and theories to mention but a few.
From the problem identified research objectives and questions will be formulated.

Stating the problem.
A good research problem has the following characteristics

  •  It is written clearly in such a way that it captures the readers interest, immediately
  • The specific problem identified in the problem statement is objectively researchable
  • The scope of the research problem is objectively researchable
  • A problem statement gives the purpose of the study.

Step 2: Determine the purpose of the study.

The purpose is generated from the problem and identifies the specific aim or goal of study.

a. The problem addresses ‘What ‘will be studied but the purpose gives the specific reasons or in other words, finishes why the study is being done. This may be to

  1.  Identify a solution to the problem
  2.  Describe the solution to the problem
  3.  Explain the solution to the problem OR
  4.  Predict a solution to the problem
  5.  Evaluate some practice on program or develop some instruments

Step 3: Evaluate the Literature.

Review the related literature

A literature review is the writing process of summarizing, synthesizing and/or critiquing the literature found as a result of a literature search.

Once a problem has been identified the professional literature must be reviewed. This is essential in order to locate similar or related studies that have already been completed and upon which the study can be built.

The review of literature will reveal what strategies, procedures and measuring instruments have been found useful in investigating the problem in questions. This information helps one to avoid mistakes that have been made by other researchers and also helps to benefit from research experiences.

A detailed knowledge of what has been done helps researchers to 

  1. Avoid unnecessary and unintentional duplication
  2. Form the framework within which the research findings are to be interpreted.
  3. Demonstrate his or her familiarity with the existing knowledge

Step 4: Define objectives and  questions.

Define the Research objectives and research questions.

When the researcher identifies a research problem and is well acquainted with the relevant literature, the research problem identified must be constructed  in a way that facilitates further research in a specific situation. 

The problem should be made measurable. This involves moving from a broad, vague abstractly stated problem and general purpose to specific objectives and questions.

The objectives and questions should provide direction and specific focus and must be clearly stated.


Research Objective.

  1. Access factors that affect the effectiveness of infection prevention and control in Kamwokya hospital.

Research Question.

  1. What are the factors that affect the effectiveness of infection prevention and control in Kamwokya hospital?

Research objectives are clear, concise, declarative statements expressed in present tense.

Step 5: Select method and Design.

Select the method and Design of the study.

The research design is a set of logical steps taken by the researcher to answer the research question. 

It forms the blueprint (outline) pattern and determines the method used by the researcher to obtain subjects, collect data analysis data and interpret results. Based on the research problem the researcher will have to make several decisions.

       (i) Approach to be taken.

  • Which approach will best answer the research question or meet the objectives
  • Is it a survey, case study and experiment

       (ii) Instrument.

  • What instrument would yield the most significant information needed by the researcher, questionnaire, checklist, interview guide tool, should it be one or more

       (iii). Data collection procedure:

  • The researcher has to identify the alternative procedure for collecting the information and evaluates advantages and disadvantages of each. Consider Distance, travel wear, time, and costs.

       (iv). Data analysis plan:

  • The data analysis plan is chosen in consideration of the research design. The plan should answer the question “What will we do with the data once we have gathered it? 

       (v) Population and sample.

  • The researcher determines who will constitute his/her population( Men, Women, Adolescents) , which population is accessible and can be best represented in the study, which criteria to be used in selection of sample, size of the sample and methods of contact.

Step 6: Specify the group of subjects to be studied.

Specifics of who is to be included is decided. These are known as research subjects. It is usually difficult to study all subjects in a particular subject, therefore a sample has to be selected from the entire population.

Step 7: Conduct a pilot study

Once the planning of the research has been completed the researcher will implement a plan. However, where possible a pilot study or a trial of the study may be conducted. Unfore seen problems frequently arise in the course, by doing a pilot study these will be identified and the project/ research can be improved. 

Step 8: Collection of data.

Subjects as well as agencies( research, other stakeholders assistants involved will be contacted in order to explain the study and obtain their informed consent. 

Step 9: Analyze the data.

The process of data analysis is determined by the research approach that is taken.

  • Before starting to process data, examine it for completeness and accuracy 
  • Inaccurate and incomplete data should be discarded.
  • Data should then be organized in an orderly coherent fashion so the patterns and relationships are distinguished.
  • Analysis techniques used include  Descriptive and inferential statistics

Examples of descriptive statistics frequency distributions, measures of central tendency, inferential- T-test, Analysis 

Step 10: Interprets Results.

Data will then be interpreted after analysis to be meaningful. Interpretation refers to the process of making sense of results.  It answers the following questions

  • What do they imply?
  • What did the research leave from the data?
  • What do the findings mean for others?
  • What is the value of study to them?   Should it result in changes in some existing policies?
  • What recommendations can the researcher make for further research?

Step 11: Develop the research report.

Communication of findings involves the development and dissemination of research reports to appropriate audiences. The research report either written or oral must communicate each step, well organized and in enough detail to inform but at the same time should be succinct(briefly and clearly expressed. “use short, succinct sentences”)


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