Types of Research

Published 16 October, 2023

Research is a broad field with many types of research that can be done. In order to understand the different types of research, it is important to define what type of information you are looking for. The type of research conducted varies greatly depending on the discipline and/or the questions they want to answer in their work. Here’s a quick overview of each type so you can get started with your own research!

What is research?

Research is basically an activity that you can conduct for gathering useful and valuable information about a specific subject or topic. Research is very much crucial whether you are in a scientific or non-scientific field.

It is the research activity that will help you in increasing your knowledge about specific topics or fields. Research can be helpful for you in relation to finding a solution to a number of problems. The types of research you need to perform are completely dependent on the nature of the problem.

Types of research according to the purpose of the study

Fundamental or Basic research

Fundamental research is simply a type of research that does not involve directly applying the information from the research to anything in particular. Instead, it focuses on understanding aspects of life, the universe, etc. This type of research provides the foundation for higher levels of inquiry or even basic application.

The main purpose of such type of research is to bring improvement in scientific theories. You can conduct fundamental research for gaining new knowledge about the subject or specific field. Fundamental research will help you in developing an in-depth understanding of specific phenomena and allow you to provide an explanation or conclusion for the same. It will enable you to address the root cause of the occurrence of a particular problem.

Applied research

Applied research is a form of a scientific investigation using products or practices in the real world to determine their efficacy, efficacy meaning how well they work. Applied research studies what has already been done to find new ways to solve a problem.

Applied research is the process of applying our scientific knowledge for practical purposes. Applied research aims to develop techniques, products, and procedures. Applied research allows you to find quick solutions for the issues by making the application of different principles or theories. The research findings of such types of investigation procedures can be applied immediately.

Note: Applied research is usually based on knowledge or results obtained through theoretical research.

Read Also: Types of Research Papers

Exploratory research

Exploratory research is used to generate and test new knowledge. You can perform such types of research for the issues that have not been studied properly by other researchers. You can perform exploratory research by engaging yourself in guided discussions, developing research that addresses risk factors, accumulating information about the market, appointing an expert person for conducting an interview.
Exploratory research aims to explore the main aspects of an under-researched problem. The purpose of exploratory research is to produce data, insight, theory, or hypotheses. You can utilize this type of research for gathering and describing the characteristics of the population. Exploratory research will help you in the selection of the best research design.

Explanatory research

Explanatory research is research that looks for relationships among variables and seeks to establish cause and effect relationships that lead to generalizations about a certain subject or population

Explanatory research aims to explain the causes and consequences of a well-defined problem. The primary purpose of performing such a type of investigation is to provide an explanation of the relationship between different variables. Correlational Research is the statistical formula that is utilized for developing an understanding of the relationship between different dimensions of the study.

Inductive research

Inductive research is an investigation process that starts with the particular, moving to the more abstract levels of generalizations, specifically changes in quality over time.

Inductive research aims to develop a theory. In order to generate a new theory, will require analyzing the previous hypothesis. The inductive approach begins with the observation of phenomena and theories which researcher designs after completion of the research procedure.

Deductive research

Deductive research is an approach to information gathering and analysis that starts with existing knowledge of a phenomenon or topic and proceeds, using a specific reasoning methodology, to generate new hypotheses. Deductive research is research that starts by making a prediction about the outcome of an experiment or a survey.

Deductive research aims to test a theory. The goal of deductive research is to clarify and refine hypotheses derived from previous knowledge.

Types of research according to the type of data used

Quantitative research

You can conduct quantitative research for gathering numerical data about the phenomenon. Quantitative research is basically an iterative procedure where the evaluation of evidence is done. Quantitative research is a particular way of exploring, understanding, and presenting answers to question.

This type of research explores what’s going on in the world by measuring and recording it. In addition to this, graphs, tables, charts are utilized for presenting the outcome. Such types of investigation are conclusive in nature. By conducting such type of research you can easily make a comparison between data and could easily reach a conclusion.

Qualitative research

Qualitative research typically involves minimal assumptions and maximum interpretation with the goal of understanding what the respondents think and say. Qualitative research involves understanding people’s meanings, experiences, and opinions through talking in-depth to a small number of respondents.

Such type of investigation is mainly performed for gathering non-numerical data. By conducting a qualitative investigation you can detail facts about the phenomenon. Qualitative research allows you to provide detailed information about the situation. It also enables you to explore hidden aspects of research.

Read Also: Qualitative & Quantitative Research Method Differences

Descriptive research

Descriptive research is a systematic way of describing the population or situation you are studying. In descriptive research, the researcher’s primary objective is to describe and define a particular phenomenon without necessarily investigating its causes. Descriptive research gathers data without controlling any variables.

Experimental research

Experimental research is research conducted in an environment or setting designed to test the validity of a particular phenomenon. The researcher manipulates one variable at a time, like patience or different groups of people to test their response to something. Experimental research manipulates and controls variables to determine cause and effect.

Types of research according to the sources of information

Primary research

Primary research is the original or first compilation of data. Primary research is carefully directed and conducted by the researcher, ideally as a person who has no established opinion on the topic. It typically involves a small number of experimental subjects, with an attempt to measure variables that directly correlate with the research question. Primary data is collected directly by the researcher (e.g. through interviews or experiments).

Secondary research

Secondary research is a type of research that involves finding and reading sources of information already published. Secondary research is the act of using existing published and unpublished data, data sets, and insights to form new knowledge. It can involve summarizing, interpreting, or analyzing information from a wide variety of sources including books, articles online databases, or government records. Secondary data has already been collected by someone else (e.g. in government surveys or scientific publications).

Types of research according to the time in which it is carried out

Longitudinal research

Longitudinal research or Diachronic Research is an excellent tool for tracking changes in a number of variables over time. It does this by monitoring the same event, individual or group longitudinally to observe any transformations and growth they undergo during that period. In such types of research, You need to collect information at different points in time.

Cross-sectional research

Cross-sectional research or Synchronous Research is best used for studying a phenomenon or individual at one given time. The design consists of observations and measurements taken on the subjects during that period in order to study their behaviors, thoughts, opinions etcetera. In such type of research, you need to collect data on the research topic in a week or month. Students perform such kind of research with the purpose of analyzing the present situation.

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