Sunday, 1 December 2013

Types of Research

Types of Research

Research is conducted at different levels for different purposes and using different
methods for collecting of information generating different type of data. Its types may be
classified from many points of view; the discipline to which applied: history, psychology,
economics, biology, philosophy, etc., purpose: description and determination of status
and causes; place where it is conducted: in the field or in the laboratory; data gathering
tools or techniques employed: quantitative, qualitative etc., mode of recording
information: numerical, symbols etc., and objectives or purposes the research intends to
accomplish: pure research, applied research, action research.

Research types when classified in this manner give rise to a comprehensive list with
much of overlapping away the different types. However, despite the lack of clear-cut
distinction among the types of research, we mostly agree on the following categories:

1. Fundamental or Basic Research

The purpose of this type of research is to generate new knowledge in the form of new
theory, facts and truth. This approach generally leads to knowledge for knowledge’s  5
sake and may or may not result in changes in the policies and practices. This type of
research has no immediate or practical application. Its major concern is to identify,
gather and use the empirical data to formulate, expand or evaluate theory. This
research is also termed as pure or theoretical.

Fundamental research is usually carried on in a laboratory or other sterile
environment, sometimes with animals, employing sophisticated procedures, tools and
techniques, exercising controls and arriving at generalizations. It employs careful
sampling procedures and a rigorous structured type of analysis in order to extend the
findings beyond the group or situation and thus develop thesis by discovering proved
generalizations or laws. Discovery of such useful concepts as motivation
reinforcement, concept formation and social environment in learning are the results of
fundamental research.

2. Applied Research

When the purpose of research is improving a product or a process testing theoretical
concepts in actual problem situations, it is called applied research. It is performed in
relation to actual problems and under the conditions in which they are formed in
practice. Applied research has most of the characteristics of fundamental research but
its findings are evaluated in terms of local applicability and not in terms of universal
validity. Most educational research is applied research, for it attempts to develop
generalizations about teaching – learning processes and instructional materials. The
problems generally faced by teachers, policy planners and administrators are mostly
solved by applied research.

3. Action Research

The aim of fundamental research is the development of theory and that of applied
research is on its general application whereas the action research is focused on
immediate application of theory. Action research placed its emphasis on the solution
of a problem here and now in a local setting. It is a systematic method of solving
problem or making practices better. Action research is concerned with the real
problem faced by the practitioners, followed by attempts made to find solutions of the
problems. It is flexible and conducted in informal contexts to bring improvement in
the existing situation. The goal of action research is both diagnostic as well as
remedial. The objective of action research, by teacher for example, will be to identify
problems and then to improve classroom practices himself. For example, as a teacher
in a primary school you may find some children in class V who face certain
difficulties in learning mathematics despite your best efforts. The situation is so
specific that the solutions are not available from many source. As a teacher you have
to identify the causes and provide remedial measures.

The methodology of action research is not as rigorous as that of pure or applied
research, the person facing the problem, the teacher or administrator, can undertake it
himself. But it may be noted that action research does apply scientific method to  6
solve real-life problems and helps in bringing a great improvement in teachers’
subjective judgments and decisions. The next units are devoted to the discussion on


the necessary of action research, its characteristics and uses.