1.2 The purpose of research

Every scientific discipline has changed in the last 10 years. Likewise, the next 10 years will also bring change. We need to know how to adapt to this change.

Every discipline changes, develops, improves, and adapts—usually through research. To remain current with developments in your discipline, you need to understand research, even if you will not be conducting research yourself.

Everyone in science-based disciplines must know the language, tools, concepts and ideas of research: Research is the foundation of science.

Research seeks to

…confirm, refute or extend previous findings, and potentially reveal new findings…

Anastasiadis et al. (2015), p. 410.

Scientific research formally answers questions that arise by observing the world using data; that is, science requires evidence-based answers.

While analysis of the data is often viewed as the hardest part of research, sometimes the hardest part is knowing what data to collect, and how to collect it (that is, the study design).

We study both the study design and the analysis of data in this book.


Anastasiadis E, Rajan P, Winchester CL. Framing a research question: The first and most vital step in planning research. Journal of Clinical Urology. 2015;8(6):409–11.