Etymology of “Research” – Anusandhana in Ayurveda



Etymological Derivation:

  • Research has its derivation from Old French term “recerche”.
  • It consists of two parts:
  • “Re”- again, repetition of an action, indicating intensity
  • “Cerche” – “act of searching closely/thoroughly”
  • Thus, simple understanding of the term research is “to search intensely, or with particular thoroughness”


The terminology “Research” is defined by various authors in different ways.

Though there are similarities, there does not appear to be a single, comprehensive definition that covers the scope of research.

Few definitions are given below:

Author Definition
Earl Robert Babbie “Research is a systematic inquiry to describe, explain, predict, and control the observed phenomenon. It involves inductive and deductive methods.”  
Rocco “Research is a careful investigation or inquiry especially through search for new facts in any branch of knowledge.”
Redman and Mory “Research is a movement, a movement from the known to the unknown.”
Creswell “Research is systematic investigation to establish the facts.”
Clifford Woody “Research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions collecting, organizing and evaluating data, making deductions and reaching conclusions; to determine whether they fit the formulating hypothesis.”
Martyn Shuttleworth “In the broadest sense of the word, the definition of research includes any gathering of data, information and facts for the advancement of knowledge.”

To Conclude:

  • Research is defined as the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings.
  • This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.


  • Research is an activity that leads us to finding new facts, information, assisting us in verifying the available knowledge and in making us question things that are difficult to understand as per existing data.

Research terminologies used in Sanskrit:

The most common term used for research in Sanskrit is “अनुसन्धान”.


The term “अनुसन्धान” is derived from:

  • उपसर्ग: अनु, सम्
    • अनु: प्रमाणें
    • सम्: सम्यक्
  • धातु: धा
  • प्रत्यय: ल्युट्
  • नपुंसक शब्द

Recent author P.V.Sharma has given the definition of anusandhana in his book “Ayurvediya Anusandhana Paddhati (आयुर्वेदीय अनुसन्धान पद्धति) as follows:

कार्यकारणभावस्य द्रव्याणां गुणकर्मयोः।

परीक्ष्य स्थापनं सम्यक् अनुसन्धानं उच्यते॥

The thorough examination of karya-kaarana (Cause & Effect Theory) between dravya, guna & karma, ultimately coming to a conclusion is termed as anusandhana.

Synonyms of अनुसन्धान:

  • अन्वेषण

  • गवेषणा

  • पर्येषणा

  • शोध

The following references can be seen in शब्दकल्पद्रुम, वाचस्पत्यम् & अमरकोश.

Term Etymology Gross Meaning Summary
अन्वेषण   नपुंसकशब्द अनु + इष–भावे ल्युट् इष्: इष्यति (गतौ-to go) इच्छति (इच्छाया-to wish/desire) इष्णाति (आभीक्ष्ण्ये-to repeat) To go in search of facts again & again.
गवेषणा   स्त्रीलिंगशब्द गवेष + भावे युच् गवेष: गवेषयति – गवेषयते (मार्गणे-to find/search/investigate) To investigate/search any phenomenon.
पर्येषणा   स्त्रीलिंगशब्द परि + एषि–भावे ल्युट् एष्: एषते – प्रयत्ने, गतौ (to try/to attempt)     परितस्तर्कादिना एषणा परीक्षा|   To investigate a phenomenon from all angles & come to conclusion through logical reasoning.

The term शोध is commonly used in Vernacular Indian Languages which means “to search/investigate.”

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