Home Blog Basic VS Applied Research: The Difference


Applied and fundamental research generally focuses on existing knowledge regarding different topics and helps generate new knowledge in different forms. The basic principle of both research work is to increase the existing knowledge by adding new knowledge. However, the aims and objectives are very much different from each other. In the vast field of scientific investigation and inquiry, research works play an essential role in improving the advancement of our world, increasing understanding, and driving the world towards innovation. The research work is generally divided into basic research and applied research. Although booth research is vital in increasing collective research, they have distinct aims, objectives, and outcomes. 

What is primary or basic research?

Fundamental research helps improve scientific knowledge regarding theories and concepts related to different topics and natural phenomena. It helps increase the fundamental knowledge of different subjects based on existing literature. The use of primary research did not help solve any problem. It only helps in studying different behaviours of the existing problems and issues. Hence, the primary research is only prepared to feed the researcher's curiosity regarding any specific topic without specific aims and objectives. Questions such as how, what, and why are answered in basic research. Moreover, more than basic research was needed to add commercial value to the research and only acted as a base for other research work to find solutions for the identified problem.

What is applied research?

Fundamental or applied research is just the opposite of the primary research. It helps find solutions to the existing problems and issues in different subjects. Experiments are one of the most effective ways of collecting information regarding the research topic. The results found during the applied research help solve specific problems and issues for completing the research study. Applied research generally makes use of natural science in practical life. There are two types of applied research: firstly, action research, which helps in suggesting guidelines for incorporating tactical solutions, and secondly, evaluation research, which evaluates an already existing research to make decisions regarding a problem.

Advantages of Basic vs. Applied Research

Basic research advantages 

  • Helps in understanding different processes of life
  • It helps society prepare for future risks and issues they may face. 
  • Helps in providing the base for applied research in different subjects. 

Applied research advantages 

  • Helps in saving the resources required to make more efficient decisions
  • Helps in the creation of new objectives for research.
  • Helps in the identification of new solutions for different existing problems. 
  • Helps highlight equitable information by evaluating the evidence related to the research topic.

Significant differences between applied and basic research

Although both research works help search different types of scientific information regarding the research topic, some significant differences are presented in both types of research work. Some of the significant differences in the research are 

Research outcome

  • Primary research is generally done due to the researcher's curiosity regarding a specific topic and subject. These types of research are generally started to gain more knowledge regarding different theories and subjects. 
  • Applied research is generally conducted to provide solutions to specific problems in different subjects. These types of research are generally conducted to find solutions to specific problems. Applies research helps in improving the products and issues. 

Research scope

  • The primary research scope is extensive and uses different theories to understand the research topic better. Basic research generally helps in exploring in-depth knowledge regarding the research topic, which helps in connecting different types of data sources
  • . The scope of applied research is much less when compared to basic research. This type of research collects information regarding specific issues and provides a problem-specific solution.

Research approach

  • Basic research generally helps in filling the existing research gaps in different subjects. 
  • On the other hand, applied research focuses on finding new and valuable information for various problems present in the research topic. 

Formation of different theories

  • Primary research is mainly based on subject theory. These theories change and keep developing with the addition of new knowledge to the research subject. 
  • On the other hand, applied research uses a practical approach as it focuses on solving different types of problems and issues. 

Selection between basic and applied research

As both basic and applied research is focused on increasing the knowledge of the research subject, using both research designs simultaneously is not practical. Therefore, the type of research design should be selected based on the research goal, for instance, during the preparation of essay work. Primary research is valuable. However, when finding solutions to a specific problem or preparation of a case study, applied research is considered to be more effective when compared to basic research. Basic and applied research may have different aims and objectives, but they both help increase the knowledge of the research on a particular research topic. The use of both the researches can help in solving real-life challenges of the society.

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