Login
Copyright

Basic Research and Applied Research: Definitions and Differences

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Purposes of Research: Exploratory, Descriptive & Explanatory

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:05 Different Kinds of Research
  • 1:10 Applied Research
  • 2:29 Basic Research
  • 4:41 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Devin Kowalczyk

Devin has taught psychology and has a master's degree in clinical forensic psychology. He is working on his PhD.

In this lesson, we look at the difference between basic and applied psychological research and discover why there is a separation. Through examples, we'll answer the questions, 'What is the purpose of research if it doesn't apply to the real world?' and 'How are the two interrelated?'

Different Kinds of Research

Human beings like to categorize things. We don't like amorphous groupings of ideas floating around. It just makes things difficult to comprehend. I'm not going to shock anyone when I say that one thing that is divided into categories is research. One way to make research topics more manageable is dividing the topics by asking the question, 'What will this be used for?'

Applied research is one type of research that is used to answer a specific question that has direct applications to the world. This is the type of research that solves a problem. We will look at an example later.

Basic research is another type of research, and it is driven purely by curiosity and a desire to expand our knowledge. This type of research tends not to be directly applicable to the real world in a direct way, but enhances our understanding of the world around us. So, the real difference between the two types of research is what they will be used for. Will the research be used to help us understand a real world problem and solve it, or will the research further our general information?

Applied Research

As mentioned before, applied research is something that we can use. Here is a simple question: 'How should a student study?' There are many ways to go about answering this question, and the ones we will look at have a direct and applicable finding. For example, what can research tell us about how a student studies?

Most people like to study in their bedroom, laying on their bed in some weird posture. They collect all their notes and spread them haphazardly across the bed. Just reading is boring, so they may have the radio on. Some people have both the radio and the television on. Then, people have to talk to their friends so their phone isn't far off. And, pets are usually somewhere in the paperwork. However, research has found that a quiet room, without music, animals or television, improves concentration.

Sitting like you will take the test creates a state of consciousness similar to taking the test. And, instead of taking all the notes and trying to cram before the test, it should be spaced out. When proper study habits are applied, they can increase scores on tests and allow a person to retain the information longer. In other words, we researched the best way to study and will now apply our findings - this is applied research.

Basic Research

We have an idea of what applied research does, but how does basic research fit into the broader world of research? If it costs money, time and other precious resources, but does not have a direct application, then why bother? Because basic research feeds applied research, and applied research feeds basic research. Basic research is a little less direct than applied research, so we will look at two different examples.

The first basic research example is a common type: evaluation. For example, program evaluation is a meticulous look at the benefits, costs and outcomes of a program. Let's say we are program evaluators at a substance abuse rehabilitation facility, or rehab, and we want to know if they are rehabilitating substance abusers. We, as evaluators, might look into:

  • How many people relapse?
  • How many people successfully complete the program?
  • Are the funds being divided and utilized properly?
  • What changes could be made to improve the success rate?

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support