Basic Research Vs. Applied Research: 8 Key Differences [Explained]

Basic Research Vs. Applied Research

Basic and applied are the two main types of research. In, basic research is about advancing existing knowledge or building new theories. And, applied research is about finding solutions to immediate problems.

Basic research helps to develop or advance knowledge whereas applied helps to find out solutions for practical problems. Let’s understand them and differentiate.

What is Basic Research?

Basic research is also called fundamental research. It is research that is done in depth mainly for two purposes one is to enhance knowledge and another is to develop new concepts or theories.

The basic research’s aim is to not apply the findings to solve an immediate problem but to understand more about certain issues that take place in several organizations and industries or human life.

According to D.B. Bhattacharya – Research that is primarily interested to find out certain basic principles not the solution to the problem is basic research.

Fundamental research has the following characteristics.

  • Develops fundamental principles.
  • Principles developed by the basic research can be generalized.
  • Finds major factors of practical problems.
  • Helps to understand the problems in depth.
  • Develops various alternative solutions to various problems.

What is Applied Research?

Applied research is also called action research. It is research that is conducted to find out the solution to an immediate problem faced by society or business organizations.

The aim of the action research is to identify the solutions for the current problems not to develop the principles. In business settings, generally, organizations appoint experts from outside paying large amounts to conduct this research.

According to D.B. Bhattacharya – A research method that is used in social science research which helps to contradict, alter, or modify any existing theory or theories and helps to formulate policy is applied research.

The following are the main characteristics of applied research.

  • It is related to solving real-life problems.
  • The conclusion of applied research can be implemented immediately.
  • Action research helps to prove concepts.
  • It helps to formulate new policies and programs improving previous procedures and practices.

8 Key Differences Between Basic and Applied Research

These researches have many similarities. However, they can be differentiated in the following points.


Basic research is defined as a study that aims to increase the amount of currently known knowledge. On the other hand, scientific research that is useful in resolving practical issues is referred to as applied research.


The main objective of basic research is to develop theory and enhance existing knowledge. Whereas, the main objective of applied research is to find out the solution to immediate problems faced by organizations.


Researchers undertake research in those issues where they are interested and have knowledge. Whereas in applied research, researchers should conduct the research focusing on the problems faced by the society or organization.

Time Limit

There is no time limit in basic research. On the contrary, a fixed time is given to researchers in applied research.


The results of fundamental research can be generalized in similar types of organizations. On the other hand, applied research focuses on a particular problem of the organization. As such, generalization is not possible and necessary.


Principles developed through basic research can be immediately implemented in practice. Whereas, findings of applied research can be implemented immediately in real life or practice.


Generally, basic research is based on technical analysis. On the other hand, applied researchers are based on individual and situation analysis.


It is assumed that the variables used in the basic research are constant. Whereas, variables used in applied research are to some extent dynamic.

2 thoughts on “Basic Research Vs. Applied Research: 8 Key Differences [Explained]”

Leave a Comment