As mentioned earlier, research has very distinct steps. Typically, previous data or research results are analyzed, a hypothesis is developed, tested, and either a conclusion is drawn, or the testing is refined. Since you may be conducting research for the first time, or are working on a project that is new to you, the first step has more than likely already been completed by someone else, and the hypothesis has been developed. This has perhaps been done by your mentor as part of a proposal for research funding. In the next few sections, we will discuss the two broad categories of research, and the steps in the research process. All proper research follows these basic steps.
Parametric Studies vs Hypothesis Driven Research
For most projects, the researcher will have become familiar with the issue they would like to explore and have created well developed questions to be investigated. This is known as hypothesis driven research, and is most common. There are times, however, when the investigator must first collect and analyze data before formulating a hypothesis. These are known as parametric studies, and will be discussed first.