Q: What is the step to conducting a quality research?
I wish to create a good and healthy food product.
Quality research involves not one but many steps, the most important of which is to frame the question clearly. ‘How to create a good and healthy food product?’ is a good question, but can you narrow it down? Do you have in mind a ready-to-eat product (like a bar of chocolate) or something that requires some processing (like soybean chunks)? When you say ‘healthy,’ do you mean something like a vitamin supplement or a protein supplement? Or, something that builds immunity?
Once you formulate the research question, the next step would be to consider possible approaches, review what has been done before (products that would be competitors to your product, for example), consider what the disadvantages or shortcomings of existing products are, and so on. In formal research, this is what a review of literature is all about.
Also, in the specific question you have asked, you could think about the target consumer group (children, teenagers, the elderly, etc.).
The next step is to draw up a plan of action: how exactly you plan to go about carrying out the required research. If you already have a particular food in mind, you need to think of the evidence you would need to demonstrate that your product actually confers the benefits it promises, that it is better than its competitors. In formal research, this is what the design of experiment is all about: how you would recruit volunteer subjects, how many of them, what criteria they must meet, how much of your product will they be consuming and for how long, and so on. This corresponds to the materials and methods section of a typical research paper.
To sum up, quality research comes from a clear objective and a clear plan that ensures that the results of your research will be scientifically valid.
Hope that helps. For more information on the various aspects discussed above, you may refer to the following resources:
- How to choose a research question
- What a journal editor expects to see in a literature review
- What is experimental design?
All the best for conducting quality research and creating a good and healthy food product! Do send us a sample when it’s done – both of the paper and the product. ;-)
[with inputs by Yateendra Joshi]