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Applied research

Applied research is research in which the applications of the results are leading.

Applied research is often seen as the opposite of fundamental research. However, the distinction is less strict. Fundamental research is primarily about confirming a theory. In applied research, the emphasis is on finding a logical explanation of phenomena and how to deal with them. You could characterize the first as top-down and the second as bottom-up. That is not entirely true, because applied research can also start with a scientific theory that indicates which aspects should be investigated. Moreover, the results of each study also have an impact on the theoretical aspects.

That is why, in my opinion, it is incorrect to see applied research as opposed to fundamental research. Whether something makes sense in practice and whether it matches a theory are not opposites, but two independent dimensions. Every research has a theoretical and a practical component. In my opinion, the best research is research that scores high on both dimensions.

Related terms to applied research:

  • Scientific research
  • Fundamental research
  • Evidence based practice
  • Theory
  • Model

Deepen your knowledge and read our manual about ...

  • How to formulate a good research question
  • How to create research designs and conceptual models
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