Basic Research and Applied Research: Definitions and Differences Video

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  • 0:05 Different Kinds of Research
  • 1:10 Applied Research
  • 2:29 Basic Research
  • 4:41 Lesson Summary
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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?

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