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Applied Research and Traditional Research


Based on the purposes, both applied and basic or pure research are different from each other and this difference is due to the forces drive them such as curiosity is the driven force of pure research while demand and need is the driven force of applied research. Concerning the level of the difference and importance, this paper identifies the major characteristics, differences and similarities of applied research against traditional or pure research.

Major Characteristics of Applied Research

According to Stangor (2010), in the applied research, the aim is to investigate the issues that have implications for everyday life and give solution to everyday life problem. According to Beins (2003), applied research methodology is appropriate to solve an immediate and practical problem. Thus, applied research does not aim to gather or acquire knowledge but rather to improve the human conditions. The major characteristics of applied research identified include its focus of research that is answering the practical questions to provide relatively immediate solutions (Johnson& Christensen, 2010). Another characteristic include the topic of applied research, which are often driven by current problems in policy. Moreover, this type of research is usually conducted in more natural settings such as real world settings than pure research (Johnson& Christensen, 2010). Therefore, applied research usually studies the effects of retaining low-performing elementary schools in the current grade levels or the related effectiveness of two different approaches of analysis such as cognitive therapy versus behavioral therapy. Moreover, the results of applied research possess implications for that specific policy and after research; the results are used for the implications for therapist (Johnson& Christensen, 2010). Audience is another concern in the applied research, because the primary audience of such researches are other applied researchers, who are meant to study the findings of the research in regard to measure the change or suitability of policy. In this view, policymakers, programs holders, directors and managers are also the major audience of such research. As a result, applied research provides interventions and other improving conditions, which can be used in the development of policy or further research (Babbie, 2010).

Analysis of Differences between Characteristics of Applied Research and Traditional Research

According to Greenwood (1999), applied research, based on certain attributes and characteristics is different from traditional reproach. Based on the attributes that applied research has, it is found that applied research is practical, participative, empowering, interpretive, tentative and critical in nature (Greenwood, 1999). On the other hand, traditional research is composed of characteristics such as unpredictability, generality, theoretical, intentional, distance from application and non-institutional (O'Hair& Kreps, 1990). Applied research insights the data, leading to practical improvement in the policy or educational instructions while in traditional research, the findings of the data are unpredictable and unclear in relation to reaching conclusion of the research. Moreover, the focus of the traditional research is not the improvement in the education policy but rather it aims to provide new information in the field. Get online  research paper writing service

Applied research is considered as participative research in which the collection of data focus is a real problem unlike traditional research, which focuses on previous theories to explore new knowledge. In addition, in applied research, participants of research can greatly affect and contribute to the research that gives empowerment while in traditional research; participants cannot contribute effectively because of distance from application (Stangor, 2010). The interpretation of the results in the applied research is based on the social reality, which is together concluded by research participants. Conversely, traditional research interprets the result based on the previous knowledge, which incorporates previous study, theories presented for the study resulting from pursue of curiosity. In addition, the significant difference between applied and traditional study is the institutional approach, which is apparently followed in applied research. In applied research, the focus of research is on the specific institution such as education and health department, conversely in traditional research method, institutions are not involved to conduct the research (Greenwood, 1999). 

Similarity between the Applied and Traditional Research

Despite above discussed differences between applied and traditional research, there are numbers of similarities. According to O'Hair& Kreps (1990), applied and traditional research does not have any distinction but rather they share various similarities. The important similarity identified between applied and traditional research is that they both theoretically and methodically follow the same pattern for study. However, in traditional or pure research, scientists are concerned with the possible uses of the results of the applied scientist (O'Hair& Kreps, 1990). The significant example is that a physician uses theories for diagnosing as well as treating the patient and the acquired result can modify the theory and practice. In other case, the physician would use unicorn horn and extracted human skull. In the same way, biologist makes the use of theory to develop medicine allowing the control of patients and changes the theory if patient responds differently to medicine.   

 In traditional research, theory and research guide helps in decision-making in many different ways. In addition, another similarity between both researches is that they both aim to promote the shared knowledge, as different applied researches have been taken into account as social engineers who only present the solution of problems but do not add something in the knowledge (Greenwood, 1999). Further similarity between traditional and applied research is that they both use wide range of systematic methodologies to conduct the research such as sound methodology that is a systematic approach to gather information depending on established processes taken from the scientific research. In addition, evaluation research method that overview the social problems in the context of previous study is the systematic assessment of an object to measure its worth (Clarke& Dawson, 1999). 


This paper can be concluded by stating that applied research possess unique significance in the academic research due to its attributes and characteristics. However, traditional or pure research is mostly contrasted with applied research to determine the effectiveness of the research methodology. This paper identified and analyzed the major characteristics of applied research, which helped in analyzing and discussing the differences and similarities between both researches. 

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