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basic and applied research

Difference Between Basic and Applied Research

When it comes to the applications of research the research can be classified into basic and applied research. The students are often confused that what will be the application of their research and what can be the scope of their research. Most of the research that is conducted by the students lies in the applied research while researches conducted by scientists and experienced researchers may be basic or applied research. The percentage of basic research that is conducted around the world annually is very low as compared to the applied research.

Basic research
By Linda Bartlett (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Basic research

Basic research is mostly very comprehensive and is conducted to get a deep picture of a field of study or a phenomenon or a theory. It helps in developing new theories in science and, therefore, it is time-consuming. Shapiro (2013. a) in his research defined basic research as advancing knowledge for the sake of knowledge. The purpose of the basic research, therefore, is not to impact the society at present but in the future it has far more benefits. From basic research universities and other institutions can get benefit because it increases the knowledge base to do further studies. Some basic research are conducted to find out new techniques, procedures and tools to conduct the research itself.

Mostly the government and big organizations invest in basic research, otherwise it can be very costly. In one of the study Shapiro (2013. b) further concluded that the US government has shifted its interest from basic research to development, according to him economic theory suggests that government should focus more on basic research because it affects most of the markets. By doing so, the government can help correct the market failure. Basic research, therefore, can bring out new ideas, innovations and develop theories that can bring forward entirely new possibilities for the industries.

By Younan Xia [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Younan Xia [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Applied research

Applied research as the name suggest is conducted to develop new products, ideas, and goods to help the community at large. In other words, an applied research can be conducted to solve a problem or study a situation, phenomenon or idea as in the social science and psychology. The aims of the applied research can be varied, but its scope is for the present and not for some time in the future.

Applied research can be conducted on any level, like by, government organizations, agencies, institutions, and even on a personal level too. There are various types of applied research and it can be explanatory, exploratory, descriptive or confirmatory. In the industries, applied research is conducted to bring new ideas about products and test the efficiency of some of the products. Applied research is conducted on a daily basis in the industries. In marketing, surveys and observations are conducted to benefit the business. In colleges and universities, applied research is conducted to examine and search the facts that are already present, but hidden. Applied research, provides vital benefits to the countries’ economy.


  1. S. Sam. (2013. a). Federal R& D: Analyzing the Shift from Basic and Applied Research toward Development. Dept of Economics. Stanford University
  2. S. Sam. (2013. b). Federal R& D: Analyzing the Shift from Basic and Applied Research toward Development. Dept of Economics. Stanford University



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