The main types of scientific research can be classified according to different criteria: the objective of the research, the type of data used, the knowledge of the object of study, the degree of manipulation of variables or according to the branch of science. Different types of scientific research
Research includes any creative work carried out on a systematic basis to improve knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture, and society; this information can then be used in new applications.
The different types of research are used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems or develop new theories. Depending on the goal and resources, the type of investigation will be decided.
For the knowledge and discoveries obtained from research to be valid and reliable, scientists follow the steps of the scientific method ; question, observation, hypothesis, experiment, data analysis and conclusions. Different types of scientific research
Types of research according to the objective
– Applied research
The applied research refers to the study and scientific research that seeks to solve practical problems. Its objective therefore is to find knowledge that can be applied to solve problems.
Applied information is used to find solutions to day-to-day problems, cure diseases, and develop innovative technologies, instead of concentrating on acquiring knowledge for the sake of knowing that knowledge.
This type of research uses some parts of the accumulated theories, knowledge, methods and techniques for specific purposes.
Generally uses empirical methodologies. Since research takes place in the real world, strict research protocols often need to be relaxed.
For example, applied research can investigate ways to:
- Improve the production of an agricultural crop.
- Treat or cure a specific disease.
- Improve energy efficiency in homes, offices, or modes of transportation.
Example of applied research
” Development of a self-applicable scale for the assessment of sexual satisfaction in Argentine men and women ” (Jurgenson, Espinosa, & Álvarez, 2008). Different types of scientific research
The purpose of this study was to develop a reliable and valid scale for assessing the sexual satisfaction of Argentine men and women.
For this purpose, the psychological meanings of what is considered a “good sexual relationship” were studied among the 200 individuals who participated in the study (120 men and 80 women).
An ethno-psychological study technique was used, through the application of a questionnaire divided by gender, entitled “ A good sexual relationship ”.
– Basic investigation
It is also known as fundamental research or pure research . It is an investigation conducted by the curiosity or interest of a scientist in a scientific question.
The objective of this type of investigation is to obtain knowledge, it is not taken into account whether it will be practical or will be able to solve problems.
The main motivation is to expand an individual’s knowledge, not to create or invent something in particular. There is no obvious or commercial value to discoveries that result from basic research .
Basic scientific investigations may seek answers to questions such as: Different types of scientific research
- How did the universe begin?
- What are protons, neutrons, and electrons made of?
- How do mold strains reproduce?
- What is the specific genetic code of fruit flies?
Basic research example
” Antioxidants accelerate the growth and invasive properties of tumors in laboratory rats ” (NCI, 2015).
Recent research in laboratory rats indicates that the use of antioxidants as dietary supplements, instead of contributing to the reduction of tumors, increases their accelerated growth and metastasis.
The results of these studies indicate that patients with a history of cancer and people with tumors should refrain from taking dietary supplements with antioxidants.
According to the data used
– Qualitative research
From a broad perspective, all research can be classified into two groups: qualitative or quantitative. The qualitative research deals with phenomena that are difficult or impossible to quantify mathematically, such as beliefs, meanings, attributes and symbols.
Qualitative researchers seek to gather a deep understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern those behaviors. Different types of scientific research
Qualitative methods investigate the why and how of decision making, not just what, where and when.
Qualitative research example
” Qualitative research on women victims of gender violence ” (Muñoz-Cobosa, et al., 2006).
The objective of this research is to analyze the experience of different women who have been victims of gender violence and have been treated in priority care centers.
A study is made of the urban health centers in which these women are treated, as well as the type of violence of which they are victims.
A segmentation is made by age, frequency of abuse and diagnoses in emergency rooms and consultation rooms.
– Quantitative investigation
The quantitative research refers to the systematic and empirical research of any phenomenon via statistics, mathematical or computational techniques. Different types of scientific research
The objective of this research is to develop and use mathematical models, theories and / or hypotheses related to the phenomena.
This research generally uses scientific methods such as the generation of models, theories and hypotheses, the development of instruments and measurement methods, the manipulation of variables and experimental control, the evaluation of results and the collection of empirical data.
Quantitative Research Example
” Study on families with conflictive children ” (Herrero, 2017)
This study analyzes the family as an open system, made up of individuals with particular psychological and social units. Evaluate the behavior of each member of the family and how it influences the rest.
A quantitative analysis is made of the different circumstances and events that affect the daily life of families, and the variables that give way to cases of misrule within the home.
According to the knowledge of the object of study
– Explanatory research
The explanatory research seeks to establish the causes of facts, circumstances or events that are being studied, whether physical or social. Different types of scientific research
Its objective is focused on justifying why an event happens, the conditions in which it occurs and the relationship that may exist between the variables.
This type of study is more structured than investigations with the other scopes. The purpose of explanatory research involves exploration, description, correlation, or association.
Explanatory research example
“The problem of dropping out of university studies” (Cabrera, et al. 2006)
This study analyzes the phenomenon of dropping out of university studies, which in some careers reaches up to 50%. The basis of this research was the analysis of the dropout rates of various universities in Spain.
Thanks to the results of this research, a theoretical profile was obtained that includes the definition of the conflict, the most probable causes, the models through which the phenomenon can be explained and the possible solutions. Different types of scientific research
– Descriptive research
The descriptive research refers to research providing accurate picture of the characteristics of a particular individual, a location, or group. Descriptive research is also known as statistical research.
These studies are a way of discovering new meanings by describing what exists, determining how often something happens, and categorizing information.
In short, descriptive research is concerned with everything that can be counted and studied, so it has an impact on the lives of people who are related to those elements.
An example may be finding the most common disease that affects children in a city. The reader of the research will be able to know what to do to prevent this disease, thus achieving that more people live a healthy life.
Descriptive Research Example
” Characteristics of the inhabitants of America ” (Dalles, 2012).
The population of America is made up of many different human groups. The first inhabitants of the continent were aborigines who came to this territory through the Bering Strait.
These groups of inhabitants were evolving, until they evolved into great civilizations. With the arrival of Christopher Columbus in America, a colonization process began that definitively affected the continent. Different types of scientific research
Among the nationalities that came to America during this period were the Spanish, the Portuguese, the English, the French, and the Dutch.
The ethnic and linguistic variety of America is due to the number of immigrants that have come to the continent since the time of the conquest.
– Exploratory investigation
The exploratory research is done to a problem that has not been clearly defined. Exploratory research helps determine the best research design, data collection method, and subject selection.
The results of exploratory research are usually not useful for making decisions on their own, but they can provide important insight into a given situation. Additionally, exploratory research is typically not generalizable to the general population.
This type of investigation can be:
- Informal, relying on secondary information such as literature review, qualitative approaches such as informal discussions with consumers, employees, administrators or competitors.
- Formal, through in-depth interviews, focus groups, case studies or pilot studies.
Exploratory research example
“ Research on prostitution and trafficking in women ” (TORRES & TRIVIÑO, 2013).
This research starts from the perspectives of human rights and gender differences, analyzing and describing the legal regulations in relation to prostitution and trafficking in women, for the purposes of sexual exploitation at the local and international level. Different types of scientific research
It seeks to examine the political, social and economic context, within which the phenomenon of sexual exploitation of women takes place, as well as the causes that lead to the exercise of this profession, such as the feminization of poverty, the economic differences between genders. and social inequality.
According to the degree of manipulation of variables
– Experimental research
The experimental research is an objective, systematic and controlled in order to predict and control the phenomena and considering probability and causality between selected variables research.
The simplest experimental investigation includes two variables and two groups of participants:
- The two variables (dependent variables versus independent variables) – IV is the predictor variable, while DV is the outcome variable. Researchers manipulate and monitor IV to study its effect on DV.
The two groups of participants (control vs experimental):
- Before starting the experiment, the researcher randomly assigns his sample to two different groups: the control group and the experimental group. The control group does not receive IV manipulation (no treatment), while the experimental group receives IV manipulation.
Probably its greatest advantage is that it establishes cause and effect relationships. On the other hand, its disadvantages include that it is artificial, unethical, and impractical.
Experimental research example
“MARTE Project” (Bluck, 2003).
This research, conducted by NASA scientists, in collaboration with the Center for Astrobiology of Spain, sought to simulate a drilling mission to the Martian subsurface. Different types of scientific research
The investigation lasted three years and managed to simulate a 150-meter drilling, using standard technology, in order to establish whether living microorganisms and water could be found.
– Quasi-experimental research
Quasi-experimental research studies cause-effect relationships, but not under strict control of the variables. It is very useful for social studies.
This type of design allows the manipulation of at least one independent variable to observe the effect it causes or the relationship it has on one or more dependent variables.
Study individuals in quasi-experimental research are associated with intact groups; that is, they were formed or arose independently, so the researcher does not manipulate this variable.
Quasi-experimental research example
“Evaluation of a program for the prevention of political violence in the Basque conflict: effects on the capacity for empathy , anger control and the definition of peace”. (Garaigordobil, M. 2012).
The study used a quasi-experimental design. The sample was made up of adolescents between 15 and 17 years of age of both genders. Different types of scientific research
The objective of the program was to increase awareness of victims of political violence, promote respect for human rights and prevent violence. The intervention consisted of 10 sessions carried out over 3 months.
The results indicated that this program increased the capacity for empathy, anger management and the ability to define peace-violence.
– Non-experimental research
The experimental investigation is responsible for observing phenomena as generated in its natural environment, and then analyzed.
It is the type of study that is carried out without deliberate manipulation of variables to generate an effect on other variables. It is systematic and empirical. The researcher does not generate situations but observes the existing ones.
In this type of research the independent variables occur and it is not possible to manipulate them, the researcher does not have direct control over them nor can they influence them because they have already happened, in the same way their consequences.
Non-experimental research example
“Analyze the effect that alcohol consumption produces on human reflexes”, this study under a non-experimental approach could be approached as follows:
– The researcher would have to attend places where people with different alcohol consumption were present.
– The sample would be based on individuals who have had high, medium and low amounts of alcoholic beverages, as well as individuals who have not ingested alcohol.
– It would measure the quality of the reflexes of each individual, make comparisons and establish the effects of the consumption of alcoholic beverages on human reflexes.
– Correlational research
Correlational research refers to the systematic investigation or statistical study of relationships between two or more variables, without necessarily determining a cause and an effect.
It mainly seeks to establish a relationship / association / correlation between two or more variables that do not lend themselves easily to experimental manipulation.
For example, to test the hypothesis that ‘listening to music lowers blood pressure levels’, the research can be conducted in two ways:
- Experimental: group the samples and have a group listen to the music and then compare the blood pressure levels.
- Survey: ask people how they feel and how often they listen to music and then compare.
This type of research has both advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages include:
- Being able to collect more information from several subjects at the same time.
- To be able to study a wide range of variables and their interrelationships.
- Study variables that are not easily produced in the laboratory.
On the other hand, some disadvantages include:
- Correlation does not indicate causality (cause and effect)
- Problems with the self-report method.
Correlational Research Example
“ Correlational analysis between Sports Coping Strategies and Competitive State Anxiety in soccer players under 20 years of age ” (López, Gorigoytía, Parodi., & Carrasco, 2007).
The present research consisted of a correlational study whose main objective was to describe and analyze the relationship between Coping Strategies and Competitive State Anxiety applied by young soccer players under 20 years of age linked to sub20 category clubs in Santiago.
– Observational research
The observational study draws interferences from a sample to a population where the independent variable is not under the control of the investigator due to logical constraints or ethical concerns.
A common observational investigation can be carried out on the possible effect that a treatment has on some subjects, where the assignment of subjects in a treated group contrasts with a control group that is outside the control of the investigator.
This is in contrast to experimental studies, where each subject is randomly assigned to a control group or a treatment group.
Observational research example
“ The Most Frequently Used Designs in Clinical Research ” (MANTEROLA & OTZEN, 2014).
This study corresponds to the observation and recording of events that take place within the clinical setting, such as case studies, controls, diagnostic tests and cohort studies.
It seeks to observe and describe the behavior of various variables, comparing the behavior of subjects with each other within a given period of time.
– Field research
The field research or field work is gathering information outside a laboratory or workplace. That is, the data needed to do the research is taken in real uncontrolled environments.
For example: biologists who take data in a zoo, sociologists who take data from real social interactions, metoerologists who take data from the climate in a city. Different types of scientific research
Specific types of research from different branches of science
There are different types of research that are specific to different branches of science.
Science made necessary the introduction of a method that facilitated its study and theorization of its knowledge, resulting in the scientific method.
For the social sciences, the type of research that is best adapted is qualitative research, since its object of study and results are generally more subjective.
Also historical research, correlational research, case studies, ex post facto research, participatory research, comparative research, market research, among others, having as its central axis the qualitative paradigm.
– Natural Sciences
For the natural sciences, under the quantitative or qualitative-quantitative paradigm (in the case of some branches of biology), the specific types of research are experimental research and research by inference. Different types of scientific research
It should also be noted some methodologies applied to natural sciences, such as the mathematical methodology (establishes postulates and mathematical formulas) and the mechanistic methodology (based on Newton’s laws).
– Ethnographic research
This research refers to the investigation of a culture through an in-depth study of the members of the culture; it involves the systematic collection, description, and analysis of data for the development of theories about cultural behavior.
Ethnographic research studies people, ethnic groups and other ethnic formations, their composition, resettlement, social welfare characteristics, as well as their material and spiritual culture.
The main purpose of this research is to try to understand what is happening naturally in the environment and interpret the information collected to see what implications could be formed from the data. Different types of scientific research
Data collection is often done through participant observation, interviews, questionnaires, etc.
Ethnographic Research Example
“ Garden Avenue Landscape, Medellín ” (Inspiralab, 2017).
The Agency for Landscape and Heritage Management (APP) developed an ethnographic research project to understand the territory of Avenida Jardín in the city of Medellín, Colombia.
This research aims to generate results that allow future interventions in the urban landscape of the area.
– Grounded Theory Research
Grounded theory research is research designed to discover what problems exist in a given social environment and how the people involved handle them; it involves the formulation, testing, and reformulation of propositions until a theory is developed.
It is used especially in social sciences like education or in health sciences like nursing.
Grounded theory is a type of research that operates almost in reverse to traditional research and may at first appear to be in contradiction with the scientific method.
This research has four stages:
- Codes- Identify the anchors that allow key data points to be collected.
- Concepts- Collections of similar content codes that allow data to be grouped.
- Categories- Broad groups of similar concepts that are used to generate a theory
- Theory- A collection of explanations that explain the research subject (hypothesis).
Grounded theory example
” Theory based on data: an example of qualitative research applied to virtual education in the area of mathematics ” (Martínez, 2014).
This research aims to present the data obtained from a series of didactic situations that took place within a virtual setting. It seeks to analyze mathematics education from the perspective of grounded theory.
For this purpose, it adopts a descriptive methodology, with emphasis on a case study, which allows generating mathematical and theoretical postulates. All this, starting from reality and interaction with virtual reality scenarios.
– Historical research
Historical research is a type of research that involves the analysis of events that have occurred in the remote or recent past. This type of research provides a better context for social scientists to make realistic decisions.
Of course, it is used especially in history, although it could be used to understand or obtain knowledge necessary for other purposes.
Applying this research can show patterns that occurred in the past and over time can help us discover where we came from and what kinds of solutions we have used in the past.
Understand that this can add perspective to how we examine current events and educational practices.
The steps involved in conducting a historical investigation are:
- The identification of the research topic and the formulation of the research problem or question.
- The collection of information or review of the literature.
- The evaluation of materials.
- The synthesis of information.
- The preparation of the report or the preparation of the narrative exposition.
Some advantages include that they provide a comprehensive picture of historical trends, that they use existing information, and that they provide evidence of current trends and issues.
On the other hand, some limitations are: it takes a long time, the resources can have conflicts and can be difficult to locate, sometimes the cause of the problem cannot be identified, the data is restricted to what already exists, and the information can be incomplete, obsolete, incomplete, or inadequate.
Historical research example
” The sciences of education in Colombia: a historical investigation on Colombian pedagogical knowledge during the first half of the 20th century ” (Bertrán, 2006).
This study aims to analyze the appropriation process of the various educational sciences within the Colombian context during the first half of the 20th century.
This process was carried out through the institutionalization of the faculties of science and education during the years 1926 and 1954, mainly.
A historical tour is made of the most representative phenomena that took place during these fifty years, characterized by the desire to appropriate modern knowledge, typical of the most developed societies of the time.
– Phenomenological research
This descriptive and inductive research develops from phenomenological philosophy; its purpose is to describe an experience as it is lived by a person. This type of research is concerned with the study of experience from the perspective of the individual. Different types of scientific research
These investigations are based on a paradigm of personal knowledge and subjectivity, as well as an emphasis on the importance of personal perspective and interpretation.
For that reason, they are powerful in understanding subjective experience, gaining insight into people’s motivations and actions, and cutting off assumptions that are taken for granted.
Example of phenomenological research
” Phenomenological study on violence at school ” (Soto, 2010).
A phenomenological investigation was carried out to identify the way in which students and teachers, of intermediate and advanced levels of the public education system of Puerto Rico, are related to violent events. All this in order to prevent them.
Through the study, the way teachers and students understand violence and the situations in which they are related to it was identified.
All of this made it possible to make the necessary recommendations to young people, and to develop and strengthen their skills aimed at the prevention and proper management of violence.
According to the way of studying reality
– Deductive method
Related to quantitative research, the deductive method works from general principles and, with the support of a series of reasoning rules, secondary theses or principles are demonstrated.
It is rigorous, but does not provide new information. Different types of scientific research
Example of the deductive method
The laws and formulas established to solve problems in science such as physics, mathematics, geometry, etc.
– Inductive method
Related to qualitative research, the inductive method seeks to organize the observation trying to draw conclusions of a universal nature from the collection of particular data. In this sense, it only offers probable insights.
The steps that this method follows for the investigation are: observation and recording of the facts, analysis and classification of the same and derivation of a probable result from the facts. It is rich in information, but lacks logical rigor.
Inductive method example
Premise: patients with low blood glucose levels have impaired pancreas functions.
Premise: Healthy people have normal blood sugar levels.
Conclusion: people with deficiencies in the functions of the pancreas are sick and have a deficiency of glucose in the blood.
– Hypothetical-deductive method
It is the integration of inductive and deductive methods. The researcher presents a hypothesis that has emerged from his inferences from empirical data or general laws.
Example of a hypothetico-deductive method
In the 19th century, two astronomers discovered that the planet Uranus did not follow the orbit predicted by Newton’s laws. The researchers thought that these abnormalities could be being generated by the attraction of another planet in an outer orbit.
According to the deduction of the observable consequences, if X planet existed, it must have Y mass and it must be at a point Z in the sky and, therefore, it could be seen with a telescope.
One of the astronomers had a powerful telescope with which he found the supposed planet, which they called Neptune . The hypothesis was proven through experience.
According to the moment / time of study
– Longitudinal research
This type of design is based on group differences, data collection is based on categories, variables, communities, contexts, events or their relationships in two or more moments to make inferences about their evolution. Different types of scientific research
Longitudinal research designs can be divided into three types: trend (train) designs, group evolutionary analysis (cohort) designs, and panel designs.
Longitudinal Research Example
“Longitudinal study on alcohol consumption and antisocial behavior in young people” (Young, R., et al. 2008).
The purpose of this study is to observe the relationship between antisocial behavior in young people between 11 and 15 years of age and short and long-term excessive alcohol consumption, as well as the effects associated with it.
– Cross-sectional research
The cross – sectional research , also known as transeccional, collects data in a single moment of time in order to describe variables, studying their impact and interaction at a specific time.
Cross-sectional research designs can be divided into three types: exploratory cross-sectional designs, descriptive cross-sectional designs, and correlational-causal cross-sectional designs.
Cross-sectional research example
The study of the number and characteristics of tourists who enter a country at a specific time (origin, age, marital status, reason for the trip, among others).
The purpose of this study would be to provide a perspective about tourists visiting a destination at a specific time. Different types of scientific research