Applied research refers to a research approach wherein the researcher is already aware of the problem at hand. Its purpose is to address specific questions and find solutions. Each research project begins with a clear purpose that guides the chosen research methodology. Researchers can engage in either basic research or applied research.
Applied research concentrates on finding answers to specific questions in order to solve particular issues. It aims to identify solutions for cultural or organizational problems and often serves as a follow-up to basic or pure research.
In this article, we will discuss the various types of applied research and provide examples. But before delving into that, let’s understand what applied research is.
What is applied research?
Applied research involves a non-systematic approach to finding solutions for specific research problems or issues. These problems or issues may be on an individual, group, or societal level. The term “non-systematic” implies that it directly focuses on finding solutions.
Referred to as a “scientific process,” applied research utilizes available scientific tools to search for answers. Similar to regular research, it involves problem identification, hypothesis formulation, and experimentation to test the hypothesis. It delves deeper into the findings of fundamental or basic research.
Types of applied research
Applied research encompasses three primary types:
Evaluation research: Evaluation research is a form of applied research that examines information related to a research subject. This type of research contributes to objective decision-making or assists in making better and timelier decisions. It is commonly employed in business settings, where organizations utilize it to identify ways to reduce overhead costs significantly.
Research and Development: Research and Development (R&D) represents another category of applied research. Its primary objective is to create or design new products, goods, or services that cater to specific market demands. It involves assessing market needs and focuses on developing innovative approaches to enhance existing products that already fulfill organizational requirements.
Action research: Action research is the third type of applied research. It involves learning about real-life phenomena and natural occurrences. Its goal is to provide practical solutions to business problems and guide businesses in the right direction.
Examples of applied research
Applied research finds application in various fields and disciplines, including the sciences and social sciences. Let’s explore how it is utilized in specific areas and provide examples:
Applied research in Business: Applied research in the business sector revolves around understanding products and services. It aids organizations in comprehending market needs and trends, enabling them to tailor their products to suit customer preferences. This research helps businesses identify gaps in their findings and obtain primary information about target market preferences.
Enhancing the hiring process
Improving work policies
Identifying skill gaps in the workplace
Applied research in Education: Applied research is employed in the education field to test different teaching methodologies and explore improved approaches to teaching and learning. Before implementing new educational policies, they are assessed to gauge their effectiveness, impact on teaching methods, and classroom dynamics.
Applied education research utilizes both quantitative and qualitative methods to gather data from firsthand sources. This data is then analyzed and interpreted to generate valuable insights and conclusions. Most applied research in education focuses on developing and testing various methodologies by implementing them in different scenarios, relying on accurate observations and descriptions of the real world.
Investigating the impact of online learning initiatives
Enhancing teacher-student classroom engagement
Evaluating a new math program
Applied research in Science As mentioned earlier, applied research is often regarded as a scientific process due to its utilization of scientific tools to find answers. It finds applications in fields such as physics, microbiology, and thermodynamics.
Applying research to develop treatments for diseases
Implementing research to improve agricultural practices
Utilizing research to test new laboratory equipment
Applied research in Psychology In the field of psychology, applied research is employed to understand human behavior in work environments, HR practices, and organizational growth and change. It plays a significant role in areas where researchers aim to comprehend human thought processes and devise solutions that align with their behavior.
Exploring novel approaches to address depression
Enhancing student grades through practical education strategies
Creating plans to promote regular employee attendance
Applied research in Health Applied research in health involves the examination of new drugs and medical practices. It combines scientific knowledge and methodologies with healthcare experiences to generate evidence-based results.
Applied research in heart surgery
Assessing the efficacy of a drug
Investigating the adverse effects of a medication
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Differences between Applied Research and Fundamental (Basic) Research
Purpose: Applied research is driven by the goal of addressing specific problems, while fundamental research aims to generate new knowledge or expand existing knowledge without immediate practical application.
Context: In applied research, the research objectives are typically determined by clients or sponsors who require solutions to specific problems. On the other hand, fundamental research is usually self-initiated to advance knowledge in particular fields.
Methods: Research validity is important in both types of studies. However, applied research tends to prioritize external validity, ensuring that the findings can be applied to real-world situations. In contrast, fundamental research often emphasizes internal validity as the main concern for researchers.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Applied Research
The advantages and disadvantages of applied and fundamental research can be compared and contrasted. Applied research offers the benefit of addressing specific problems in various contexts, including business settings.
However, there are limitations to applied research. Its findings are typically not easily generalized beyond the specific research problem. The applicability of the newly generated knowledge tends to be restricted. Additionally, applied studies often have strict and inflexible deadlines.
It is important to specify the type of research in the early part of the research methodology chapter, typically in a brief paragraph.
Conclusion Applied research is a crucial approach that enables organizations to find practical solutions to specific problems while enhancing their productivity and output. Unlike basic research, which focuses on developing explanatory theories, applied research emphasizes the description of evidence to identify solutions.
Researchers employ qualitative and quantitative methods in applied research, including questionnaires, interviews, and observational techniques, to collect data. This approach facilitates the gathering of real-world evidence, which is then tested based on the specific type of applied research and its primary focus.