Types of Research

Published on: Jan 26 2011 by Shenron

The term ‘research’ is defined as “a careful and systematic study or investigation of any subject in order to discover new facts by implementing scientific methods.” There are two major types of research: basic research and applied research. However, there are several other types of research which we will briefly discuss in this article. Let us have a look on some of the common types of research.

Action Research

Action research is often called practitioner research and is a form of reflective investigation of an individual interest, or problem. Action research is an investigation in a view of efforts made to enhance the quality and performance of an organization. Professional researchers assist the organizations in improving their practices, strategies etc. However, an individual or group of workers can perform action research under the guidance of professional researchers. It is therefore a collective, collaborative, critical and self reflective systematic investigation. When a team of colleagues is involved, the approach is called collaborative investigation or research. The term ‘action research’ was first used by a professor Kurt Lewin at MIT in 1944. He described the action research in his 1946 paper ‘Action Research and Minority Problems’ as ““a comparative research on the conditions and effects of various forms of social action and research leading to social action” that uses “a spiral of steps, each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action, and fact-finding about the result of the action”.

Applied Research

Applied research is a type of research that makes use of past knowledge, methods, theories, or basic theories to solve the practical problems of the modern world. Applied research is an exact opposite of pure or basic research. Presently, applied research is given more importance to solve the problems emerging out rapidly because of the dearth of natural resources and overpopulation.

Basic Research

Basic research is also known as pure or fundamental research. The aim of the basic research is to enhance or improve knowledge about certain things. It is rightly to say that it is a research for the sake of research, it is not problem oriented. Basic research is conducted to minimize one’s curiosity in finding answers of why things happen; why changes occur in society; and why social relations behave in a particular way. Basic research gives rise to many new theories, principles, and ideas. Basic research helps to pave new ways of thinking for the individuals. Maximizing one’s knowledge and expanding one’s mind is the only purpose of basic research.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trial is a type of research which aims at the safety by collecting useful data which can be helpful for health interventions such as drugs, therapy protocols, devices, and diagnostics. Clinical trials are gone on only when the reasonable information has been collected on the quality of the non-clinical safety and Health Authority/ Ethics Committee endorsement.

In the beginning, the researchers register healthy volunteers or patients into small pilot studies, conditional to the type of product and its developmental stage. Clinical trials expand their area of working to larger scale studies as the trials move on. Clinical trials can be carried out from single center in the country to multicenter in several countries.

Epidemiological Research

Epidemiological research is a fundamental method of public health research which focuses on the research of patterns of health, illness and other concerned factors at the population level. Epidemiological researchers are accountable for conducting investigation to focus on design, statistical analysis, and data collection, documentation of results and submission of publications related to the communicable and non-communicable diseases. There are numerous other disciplines on which the epidemiologists depend such as biology, biostatistics, social science disciplines and geographic information science.

Evaluation Research

It is a research that focuses on the measurement of the efficacy, or presentation of a program, concept or campaign in accomplishing its goals.

Literature Review

Published information in a specific subject area (and often within a certain period of time) is reviewed under literature review.

Generally, a literature review is expressed in a systematic pattern in which summary and synthesis come together. It is a simple summary of the available sources; however, synthesis may be reorganization and/or reshuffling of the information. Synthesis is a process that can be a totally new interpretation of the current source or may connect the new with the old one. The aim of the literature review is to provide the readers with the most relevant interpretation of the source material.

Qualitative Research

As the name suggests, the qualitative research uses the methods that help to distinguish the quality of the subject rather than quantity. The main focus of the qualitative research is to provide the why and how of the subject instead of what, when and where.

The most common fields in which qualitative research conducted is anthropology, the humanities and sociology. Quantitative research is also conducted in these fields. Being exploratory and discerning in nature, qualitative approach of study is often met with a criticism of being subjective. Qualitative methods usually focuses on developing hypothesis and are therefore as important as quantitative methods of studies because this hypothesis help generating the theoretical models which lay the basis for the quantitative research methods.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is a type of research that deals with the calculation of behaviors, perceptions and attitudes. It also includes several different types of interviewing methods, for example, door to door interviews, telephones, self completion methods (online surveys, mail outs), and intercept.

Comparatively speaking, quantitative methods of study are much less argumentative than the qualitative methods of study because quantitative methods deal with the traditional scientific standard. Quantitative research is normally based on numerical data and the numerical data is usually absolute without much of an errors. This numerical data helps the quantitative researchers to conduct an unbiased investigation.

Service or Program Monitoring and Evaluation

Evaluation of the presentation of a service and /or program is carried out by gathering and analyzing variety of processes and outcome data in order to find out whether the desired results have been achieved or not. For any program, monitoring and evaluation are the core components. On the basis of these components a program is planned, implemented and improved. Service or program monitoring and evaluation pretty much sound like a strategic planning.

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