Key Difference – Research vs Problem Solving
Research and problem solving are two concepts that can often be confusing although there is a key difference between these two processes. The confusion arises from the fact that both research and problem solving have a common factor. This is the problem. In research, we try to answer the research problem by gathering data and analyzing the data. In problem-solving we focus on finding a solution to an already identified problem. The key difference between research and problem solving is that while in problem-solving the individual already has the necessary information to make the decision or come up with a solution, in research the researcher needs to gather the information before he answers the research problem.
What is a Research?
Research refers to a process in which the researcher attempts to answer the research problem that he initially creates by gathering and analyzing the data. Research is conducted both in the natural as well as the social sciences. These are conducted with the intention of finding answers to the research problem. When conducting research, the first step is to identify a proper research problem. Based on this the researcher develops research questions and objectives. Then he would conduct a literature review to understand more about the problem and identify how other researchers have conducted their research. Based on this knowledge, the researcher would create his methodology.
For the research methodology, he would identify a sample for data collection and methods and techniques. Once the data has been gathered the researcher analyzes these data in order to write the research report. In this report, he explains not only the data that has been gathered but also the final analysis of the researcher.
What is Problem Solving?
Problem-solving is a process in which the individual defines a problem, identify possible solutions and evaluates the solutions to find the most effective solution for the problem. Problem solving is not only limited to academic disciplines but are also vital in the industrial setting. In organizations, managers often encounter tasks of problem-solving.
Here, first the individual must define the problem and gain a broader understanding of it. Since the information is already available, it becomes much easier to find different solutions to the problem. Then he must evaluate each solution and decide the most effective solution for the problem. As you can observe although both research and problem-solving center around a problem the processes in which they are completed are different from one another.
What is the difference between Research and Problem Solving?
Definitions of Research and Problem Solving:
Research: Research refers to a process in which the researcher attempts to answer the research problem that he initially creates by gathering and analyzing the data.
Problem Solving: Problem solving is a process in which the individual defines a problem, identify possible solutions and evaluates the solutions to find the most effective solution for the problem.
Characteristics of Research and Problem Solving:
Research: Research is scientific.
Problem Solving: Problem solving may not always be scientific.
Research: When conducting research, there is a particular process that begins with identifying the research problem and ends with analyzing the data to answer the research problem so that a research report can be compiled.
Problem Solving: In problem-solving, the process begins with defining the problem and implementing the identified strategy or solution.
Research: In research, to gather information, a sample is required.
Problem Solving: In problem-solving, a sample may not be required as the information is already available.
Research: In most research especially of the natural sciences, a hypothesis is built.
Problem Solving: In problem-solving a hypothesis may not be required.
1. “NASA LRC Materials Research Lab” by RadioFan – LRC Tweetup. [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Commons
2. Problem solving cycle By Prana Fistianduta (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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