Basic vs. Applied Research: Definition and Differences

What is the commonality between writing a dissertation and writing an essay? There is a difference between applied and basic research, but before jumping to any conclusions, let’s examine the process of basic vs applied research. Whether it’s a two-page paper or a problematic dissertation, you’ll need useful references to produce a good essay.

A research approach can either be applied or basic, depending on the purpose or utility. In applied research, experts analyze the empirical evidence to provide practical solutions to particular problems, while basic research aims to expand knowledge and modify existing theories.

The purpose of fundamental research is to answer the question of how things work. Scientists and engineers then use this actual knowledge to improve existing products, technologies, and processes. As a result, basic researchers can answer new questions with enhanced technologies. For advancement, this cycle is crucial.

Have you gotten comprehensive information about the research process? Alternatively, we present an in-depth comparison of basic vs. applied research. You’ll see how we compare and contrast these two types of studies by reading through the post.

What is Basic Research? 

The term “basic research” refers to a type of research that is entirely theoretical, focused on improving or expanding the knowledge base of an area. This approach is based on the principle of “knowledge for its own sake.” it is primarily motivated by curiosity and a need to explore the unknown. 

It is also known as basic or pure research. It refers to the systematic inquiry into a subject or phenomenon to gain more profound and in-depth knowledge about it and not solve a specific problem.

What is Applied Research? 

The goal of applied research is to provide practical solutions to a specific problem. It is an investigation technique involving solving problems by applying an empirical methodology to an object, a field of study, or a research subject. 

These are generally those types of research that apply to real-life situations. To connect with the results of corresponding situations, it analyzes specific parts of those situations. Several additional conclusions are also offered in the review. Furthermore, research whose objective is to identify social, political, or economic trends falls under the definition of applied research.

Basic vs. applied research: key differences

Based on the points below, we can explain how basic research differs from applied research:

  1. A primary research project can be characterized as research that attempts to expand an already existing scientific knowledge base. On the other hand, applied research refers to an academic study that helps solve real-life issues.
  2. Applied research takes a practical approach, while basic research focuses on theory and analysis.
  3. Primary research is more universally applicable than applied research in the sense in which it can be applied to any problem. In contrast, it can only be used to specific issues in which it was conducted.
  4. In basic research, knowledge and prediction are the main objectives. On the other hand, applied research is concerned with developing new technology and techniques by integrating basic scientific principles.
  5. Basic research has the objective of adding knowledge to the existing one. On the other hand, applied research aims to find a solution to a problem.

Keep in mind; basic research seeks to find answers to questions about how things work. Applied engineers and scientists use this knowledge to invent, develop, and improve new technologies and processes. Basic researchers use those improved technologies to address more fundamental questions. In this way, a vital advancement cycle is created.

Basic vs. Applied Research: Different Characteristics

In comparing basic vs. applied research, one needs to be aware that basic research emphasizes expanding existing knowledge, while applied research emphasizes providing a solution to a problem. Accordingly, it can be concluded that basic research tends to be primarily theoretical, while applied research tends to be practical.

In addition, applied research is action-oriented, whereas fundamental analysis is usually logical and descriptive. Applied research is concerned with using the information in real-life situations, while basic research is about extending knowledge.

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What are the similarities between basic and applied research?

Several similarities exist between basic and applied research. Here are a few of their similarities.

  • The data collection methods and processes are the same. Techniques like surveys, questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups can collect quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Research conducted at the primary level serves as a foundation for applied research.
  • As a basis for testing research hypotheses, both types of research use deductive and inductive reasoning methods. Getting from a theory to a conclusion involves inductive reasoning. As opposed to inductive reasoning, observation leads to a close.

Examples of Basic vs. Applied Research


As a method to boost learning new techniques, applied research in education provides realistic solutions to many pedagogical issues. As an alternative to this, basic research is used in instruction to provide pedagogical theories that outline the unique behaviors of educators and students inside an educational setting.


Applied research can provide answers regarding organizational policies, workplace behavior, and worker hiring processes. The primary research in psychology keeps track of various mental situations to interpret behaviors at work efficiently.

The research procedure is a fundamental part of your academic paper; therefore, you need to be familiar with how to deal with it. Consequently, it is crucial to understand the difference between primary and applied research. Once you master it, the research process will become more straightforward than ever.


According to the level of the research and its purpose, the research type can vary. Primary research can be chosen over applied research when it is the goal to add new knowledge, but applied research can be selected when it is the goal to propose a solution to the problem being studied.

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