Unit 4: Types of Research
Topic 1- Basic and Applied
Research can be classified by purpose or by method. If we categorize it by purpose, it would fall into two major categories: Basic Research and Applied Research, while in case of method, it would be deductive research and inductive research.
Also called Pure or fundamental Research, it is undertaken for increase in knowledge. There is no direct benefit as it is a research for the sake of research. It is conducted to satisfy any curiosity such as: (a) what makes things happen, (b) why society changes and (c) why social relations are in a certain way. In fact, it is the source of most new theories, principles and ideas. Basic research rarely helps anyone directly. It only stimulates new ways of thinking. The main motivation is to expand man's knowledge. There is absolutely no commercial value to the discoveries resulting from such research.
However, in the long run, it forms the basis of applied research or development commercial products. If basic work is done first, then applied spin-offs often eventually result from this research. As Dr. George Smoot of says, "People cannot foresee the future well enough to predict what's going to develop from basic research. If we only did "applied research", we would still be making better spears." To sum up, basic research is purely theoretical to increase our understanding of certain phenomena or behavior but does not seek to solve any existing problem.
It is use of basic research or past theories, knowledge and methods for solving an existing problem. It deals with practical problems. It is opposed to pure research which is not problem-oriented but for the increase in knowledge which may or may not be used in future.
In the present world situation, more emphasis is being given to applied research to solve problems arising out of overpopulation and scarcity of natural resources.
Applied research should not be treated the same as Research & Development (R&D) which is involved in developing products demanded by the existing clients. Applied Research, on the other hand, focuses on uncovering what needs are not being met and use that information in designing products or services that would create their own demand. Thus, applied research brings in new customers and also provides better products and services to the existing customers. In old days, the mobile phone was expensive, bulky and had a short range. Applied Research foresaw that this product would have a limited market and stressed on cost-cutting, reduced weight and long-distance communication. Such measures caused a heavy demand
Topic 2- Historical Research
Historical research is the process of systematically examining past events to give an account of what has happened in the past. • It is not a mere accumulation of facts and dates or even a description of past events. • It is a flowing, dynamic account of past events which involves an interpretation of these events in an attempt to recapture the nuances, personalities, and ideas that influenced these events. • One of the goals of historical research is to communicate an understanding of past events.
Significance of Historical Research
The following gives five important reasons for conducting historical research (based on Berg, 1998): 1. To uncover the unknown (i.e., some historical events are not recorded). 2. To answer questions (i.e., there are many questions about our past that we not only want to know but can profit from knowing). 3. To identify the relationship that the past has to the present (i.e., knowing about the past can frequently give a better perspective of current events). 4. To record and evaluate the accomplishments of individuals, agencies, or institutions. 5. To assist in understanding the culture in which we live (e.g., education is a part of our history and our culture).
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