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Basic vs Applied Research: Definitions and Main Features

basic vs applied research

Almost every student has difficulties distinguishing basic vs applied research when pursuing higher education. Research is generally a calculated investigation whose aim is to provide a foundation on which decisions are made. It is a study that an entity or an individual undertakes systematically to find solutions to specific problems. However, how this study is conducted is the basis of the difference between applied vs basic research.

An experiment or survey is done to collect information based on the set objectives. Depending on the utility, research can be divided into two categories. These are basic research and applied research. But, to understand the difference between applied and basic research, it’s important to start with their definitions before you begin writing your research paper.

What is Basic Research?

The best basic research definition describes it as an investigation whose focus is on advancing the existing scientific knowledge to enhance the understanding of some natural phenomena or topics in natural sciences. This research is also called fundamental or pure research.

But, what is pure research? Well, the best pure research definition describes it as any research that is done to enhance the understanding of a fundamental concept in a scientific field. This research does not generate marketable results. However, it can be used for future research into profitable and specific applications.

What is Applied Research?

The most comprehensive applied research definition describes it as an investigation that encompasses the real-life application of natural science. This research aims to provide solutions to specific and practical problems whole developing innovative technology.

It can also be considered basic science research because of its application in real-life situations. It studies circumstances to generate results that correspond and relate to those circumstances.

Basic vs Applied Research-The Major Differences

Certain differences stand out when comparing basic research vs applied research. They include the following.

  • Basic research tries to expand existing scientific knowledge while applied research is a scientific study that helps in solving problems in real life.
  • Basic research is theoretical while applied research is more practical in its approach.
  • Basic research is more applicable than applied research solutions because basic research is universally applicable while applied research is only applicable to specific problems that necessitate it.
  • Basic research is primarily concerned with the development of scientific predictions and knowledge while applied research focuses on developing techniques and technology using basic science.
  • Basic research aims to add knowledge to what is already in existence while applied research tries to find solutions to specific problems.

It’s also important to note that pure vs applied research differ in the sense that pure or fundamental research focuses on answering the initial question of the way things work. This is the knowledge that applied engineers and scientists, for instance, use to improve existing technologies, processes, and products. On the other hand, basic researchers use those improved technologies ion answering more fundamental questions. That way, an important advancement cycle is created.

How are Basic and Applied Research Similar?

Both basic and applied research approaches are similar in some ways. Here are some of their similarities.

  • They use the same data collection methods and processes. These include quantitative and qualitative data collection methods like surveys, questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups.
  • The results of basic research serve as the applied research’s bedrock.
  • Both types of research use deductive and inductive reasoning to support the research hypothesis. Inductive reasoning entails moving from an idea to an observation. On the other hand, inductive reasoning entails moving from observation to an idea.

Examples of Basic versus Applied Research

A major question that many students ask is what are the two major types of applied research or basic research? Well, an example of basic research can be in healthcare.

Two examples of basic research in this sector can include:

  1. Research into the secondary signs of the Human Papilloma Virus
  2. Research into the signs of diarrhea

When it comes to applied research, examples in the healthcare sector can be:

  1. Research into the mushrooms’ healing properties
  2. Research into the side effects of drinking alcohol

These are just some of the basic vs applied research examples. They show that applied research can be used to find practical solutions while basic research can be used to college novel information about a study field, phenomenon, or concept.

Essentially, basic research findings are predominantly responsible for several breakthroughs in many study fields. Applied research findings, on the other hand, are primarily used in solving certain research problems. Thus, basic research has a universal nature while applied research has a limited nature.

Understanding Applied Research vs Basic Research Better

To understand applied research and basic research better, it’s important to consider a classic example. Lev Vygotsky’s work of 1934 is now the foundation of many theories and research in cognitive development. For decades, researchers have used this work with some calling it social development theory.

Vygotsky’s theories emphasize the fundamental role that social interactions play in cognitive development. Vygotsky believed that the role of the community is central in making meaning. This belief is different from Jean Piaget’s notion that argues that development in children must precede learning. But, Vygotsky argued that learning is a universal and necessary aspect of a process by which children develop specifically human and culturally organized psychological functions.

In simple terms, Vygotsky believed that social learning precedes development. This researcher approached cognitive development socio-culturally. Vygotsky’s research is best applied in an educational setting where it can be used to allow students to collaborate with knowledgeable peers or adults.

Researchers should understand the differences and similarities between applied vs basic research. Essentially, both types of research vary based on the purpose, context, nature, outcomes, and objectives. However, they also have similarities because they use similar data collection methods. Both types of research also use deductive and inductive reasoning to arrive at the conclusions or outcomes. What’s more, basic research can use improvements created through applied research to provide solutions to new problems. And, applied research uses basic research as its bedrock. Thus, both types of research are not completely independent of each other. Contact our academic writers to get qualified help once you need it.

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