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Basic vs. Applied Research: Know The Definitions And Key Differences

Home / Blog / Basic vs. Applied Research: Know The Definitions And Key Differences

 Krishna   August 8, 2022  Assignment  0

Almost every student around the world face challenges in distinguishing basic vs. applied research while pursuing higher education. Generally, research can be defined as a calculated investigation whose goal is to provide a remarkable foundation for making unique and vital decisions.

Based on the purpose or utility, a research approach can either be basic or applied. Most researchers suggest that these two are closely working with one another as basic research is a platform that applied research often uses to solve real-life problems. Again, basic research employs technology (developed by applied research) to address its objectives. Therefore, these inquiries form a cycle of advancement.

If you are one of those who are baffled about applied vs. basic research, then you have landed on the right page. In today’s well-detailed post, we will walk you through the key differences of basic research vs. applied research, along with certain similarities that will help you nail your research papers like a champion.

What Is Basic Research? A Quick Overview

Now, before you plunge deep to learn the difference between basic vs. applied research, it is vital to develop an in-depth understanding of what basic research truly means.

Basic research or otherwise known as pure or fundamental research is the one that focuses on advancing scientific knowledge for the complete understanding of a topic or certain natural phenomenon. It occurs primarily in natural sciences. In a nutshell, when knowledge is gained for simply the sake of knowledge, it is known as basic research. It is primarily driven by curiosity and the need to explore the unknown.

Basic research is completely theoretical. It focuses especially on basic concepts and testing theories. Furthermore, this research does not generate any kind of marketable results. But, it can be used for future research into more specific and profitable applications.

For instance, basic research will probe answers to questions like-

  • How was the universe formed?
  • What is protons, neutrons, and electrons are composed of?
  • What is the specific genetic code of the fruit fly?
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What Is Applied Research? A Quick Overview

Applied research can be defined as research that encompasses the real-life application of natural science. It is specifically directed towards offering a comprehensive solution to specific practical problems and developing innovative technology. These kinds of studies are often associated with fields of business, economic health, and politics.

In innumerable cases, applied research is a follow-up research design for basic research. This is due to the fact that it further investigates the outcomes of pure or basic research to validate these findings and apply them to create innovative solutions to specific problems.

Like, applied researchers may conduct scientific research to find ways of-

  • Improving agricultural crop production
  • Curing or treating a specific disease
  • Enhancing the energy efficiency of homes, offices, or modes of transportation.

Basic Research vs. Applied Research: The Key Differences

Certain differences stand out when comparing basic research vs. applied research. To gain relevant insights, have a look at the table of comparison below-




Parameter Of Comparison



Basic Research



Applied Research





Basic research can be explained as research that aims to expand the already existing scientific knowledge base. Thus, basic research is knowledge-specific.


Applied research is designed to answer specific questions aimed at solving practical problems. Thus, applied research is solution-driven.





Theoretical and Exploratory in nature


Practical and Descriptive in nature.





The primary aim of basic research is to extend the prevailing source of evidence about different sources and objectives.


The central aim of advanced research is to develop new techniques and technologies for solving various industrial problems.







The primary concern of basic research is to develop scientific knowledge and predictions.




Applied research stresses the development of technology and technique with the help of basic science.








The basic utility of efficacy of basic research is universal. It has a global purpose to solve.




The basic utility of efficacy of advanced research is limited and has a practical purpose of solving.





The fundamental goal of basic research is to add some knowledge to the already existing one.


On the contrary, applied research is directed towards finding a solution to the problem under consideration.



Relation With Technology



Less associated with technology


Creates solutions or preventions from future problems.





Wider Scope


More Specific Scope







Client driven


Commercial Purpose



Does not have direct commercial objectives


Has direct commercial objectives


Relationship With Economy



Less connected with economy


Highly connected with economic pursuits


Theory Formulation



Basic research aims at formulating theories that explains research findings. In the process, it improves a body of knowledge.

Also, it aims at formulating concepts and generalizations that explain a concept, subject, or phenomenon.



Applied research, on the other hand, aims at arriving at research findings that can solve practical problems.



Publications Appearance




Less often appear in academic publications.



More often appear in academic publications.




Takes place in a sterile environment.



Occurs in real-world settings.


Basic and Applied Research: The Similarities

Apart from having certain major differences, both basic and applied research approaches are similar in certain ways.

Take a look below to comprehend the similarities-

  • Both Basic Research and Applied Research use the same data collection methods and processes. These incorporate qualitative and quantitative data collection methods like questionnaires, surveys, interviews, and focus groups.
  • The result of basic research serves as the bedrock of applied research.
  • Both kinds of research use deductive and inductive reasoning to support the research hypothesis. Inductive reasoning entails moving from an idea to observation. On the other hand, inductive reasoning entails moving from observation to the idea.

Basic vs. Applied Research Examples

If you are still facing difficulties getting the hang of the fundamentals of Basic vs. Applied research, then this segment is especially for you. Here we have highlighted certain crucial examples in different sectors. Take a look below-

  • Education Example-

Basic research-How does human memory work?

                            How do children acquire new languages?

Applied Research – A study to develop student’s interest in religious studies

                                  A study to enhance classroom interaction between teachers and students

  • Health Example-

Basic Research- An investigation into the secondary symptoms of the HPV

                            An investigation into the symptoms of diarrhea.

Applied Research-  An investigation to identify the side effects of alcohol consumption.

                                  An investigation to identify the healing properties of mushrooms.

  • Psychology Example-

Basic Research- How do panic attacks occur?

                            What are the symptoms of anxiety disorders?

Applied Research- What are the treatment choices for anxiety disorders?

                                  What are the ways to enhance the productivity of employees in the workplace?

Final Words

While crafting a remarkable assignment on the basic vs. applied research can give countless students a tough time, this comprehensive blog can be the answer to it all.  With this detailed guide, you can nail those papers like never before. Save this post on the laptop, so you can find all the vital information on the applied vs. basic research while you sit down to write. Take the help of this guide and form an in-depth understanding to sail through your future research tasks like a champion.

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