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Doctoral Research: What Is It?

Updated on September 7, 2020

A doctoral research is conducted to investigate an existing or an emerging issue in a given discipline and at a specified time. Two approaches have been widely used in conducting doctoral and education researches. The first approach is the basic approach which is widely used in conducting education and academic researches. Basic approach seeks to identify if the existing information in a given field is complete or not, establish the missing gap and develop a theory that will aid in filling the gap. It is, therefore, information oriented. The second approach is employed in applied researches whereby it is used in deriving direct solutions to given problems. Researches in the second approach are utilitarian in nature and solution-oriented.

Researchers have established that explanation is the most superlative goal of doctorate research. This goal is achieved when the causes of a given occurrence are identified. To achieve this, one has to consider the relationships between two of more events, correlation between time and event. Ideally, a research should provide facts and figure in regards to a given phenomenon and come up with solutions to a given problem.

Validity and reliability plays a vital role in research. Validity in a research is measured using several means, and it tests whether the results yielded by the research are credible and trustworthy. The three types of validity are content validity, construct validity and criterion-relates validity (Shuttleworth, 2008). Consequently, a valid research should produce similar results when subjected to different variables. Reliability assesses whether the research yields consistent results. Researches use different methods to test reliability, which includes retest method, alternative method, split-halves method and internal consistency method (Shuttleworth, 2008). The instruments used in data collection and analysis should, therefore, be tested to ensure that the results are reliable. Reliability determines the validity and strength of a given research.

Doctoral researches have different predetermined goals, which vary with the nature, discipline and the expected results. However, these goals must be descriptive, predictive and easy to explain and to conceptualize (Hale, 2010). Descriptions are used in defining and classifying research subjects in accordance to their relationships. Additionally, they aid in establishing generalizations and specifics in the research as well as describing subjects and populations. They should, therefore, be accurate and logical. When formulating goals for a doctoral research, one should consider the description, operations and concepts carefully, as they may change the meaning and the intention of the goal. The goals used in doctoral research should also be predictive. Normally, hypothesis is used to predict the outcome of a given scenario and in comparing the relationships and behaviors of two or more variables. Predictions should thus be testable and measurable, to assess whether their predetermined goals were achieved at the end of the doctoral research. Hypotheses are born from conceptual theories or interconnected set of concepts and are made with some degree of uncertainty. The research, therefore, seeks to agree or disagree with set hypothesis.

Critical thinking and logic are equally essential factors to consider when conducting a doctoral research. Critical thinking entails understanding logical analysis, accurate thinking and questioning the sources of your information. Logic, on the other hand, entails thinking in a given way and presenting of the information in a clear sequence. A doctorate research paper should portray critical thinking and clear logic for it to address a given scenario and yield appropriate recommendations.

Conclusively, doctoral research should not only gather information on a given phenomenon, but should also derive ways and means of addressing that phenomenon. It should have clearly defined goals and objective that should guide the researcher through the research. The research should portray validity and reliability, and its results should be replicable in other studies. Additionally, the research should portray clear understanding, critical thinking and logic in its results.




Hale, J. (2010). Understanding Research Methodology 3: Goals of Scientific Research. Retrieved 25 Oct. 2011 from

Shuttleworth, M. (2008). Validity and Reliability. Retrieved 25 Oct. 2011 from


© 2011 Fierce Manson


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