Research Writing

What is Applied Research Characteristics Examples how it is done

Applied research is a scientific method widely used by sociologists, psychologists, economists and social researchers in general. The objective of this type of study is to generate knowledge from practical application, that is, with solutions to specific problems. 

Science can be divided into two major dimensions: pure (creation of theories) and applied (when the theory already developed is applied according to human needs.

When producing the research methods and techniques section, the student needs to define whether his study is pure or applied research. In addition, it also needs to provide information as to objectives, approach and procedures. 

What is applied research?

It is an activity in which knowledge, previously acquired through other studies, is used to collect, select and process facts and data. Thus, it becomes possible to prove results and generate some kind of impact. 

Scientific rigor must be respected in carrying out applied research. Thus, the investigation depends on the definition of the problem, choice of methodology and analysis. Another fundamental point is relevance, that is, the positive impacts generated for the community.

Applied research versus pure research

Basic research can be classified as pure or strategic. In the first case, she is concerned with deepening her knowledge on a subject. In the second classification, she starts from questions to make new discoveries on the subject. 

While pure research is aimed at scientific progress and theory building, applied research is more concerned with immediate application in a given reality .

Nothing prevents applied research from leading to scientific discoveries, just as pure research provides knowledge with practical application.

Although they are different classifications, one does not exclude the other. In fact, pure and applied research should always complement each other.

In short, pure research is when you try to find something new without necessarily having an immediate application. In contrast, applied research relies on a scientific discovery to generate a product.

Characteristics of applied research

  • The theoretical framework serves as a basis for analyzing the studied reality.
  • It is a study that goes beyond the academic dimension, as it has the duty to promote public debate and guide the decision-making process.
  • The investigated realities can be one or more than one (public organizations, companies, a person or a group of people).
  • Seeks to solve a specific problem.
  • Brings new ideas through the application.
  • Enables the creation of a technical product capable of solving a problem (manual, application and course, for example).

Examples of applied research

Consider a Pedagogy student who wants to develop an application for youth and adult literacy. To create the prototype of this project, it was based on studies on effective methods for literacy and the application of technologies in the learning process. This is an example of applied research

We separate some situations capable of exemplifying applied research:

  • Cash flow analysis of a supermarket.
  • Diagnosis of socio-environmental responsibility actions at Caixa Econômica Federal.
  • IT support for the management of the maintenance process for electrical transmission lines.
  • Development of a medicine.
  • The development of a game that helps in the literacy process. 
  • History of train lines in the interior of São Paulo.

How is applied research done?

All research, whether pure or applied, follows the same path. Check step by step:

Choose the subject

Based on daily experience, reflection, readings and debates, choose a topic that sparks your interest. It doesn’t have to be original, but it should have some relevance to society.

Gather the necessary knowledge

Once the subject has been chosen, it is time to get to know the state of the art , that is, what scientific production already exists on the subject. Answer: Who has researched something similar?

write a justification

Why study this subject? Answer this question and you will have your justification for the research. Consider the advantages and benefits that your study can provide.

formulate a problem

The purpose of applied research is to find solutions to a concrete problem . The difficulty to be solved must be delimited in time and space. 

Determine the goals

What do you intend to achieve with the study? Answer this question and you will have the purpose of applied research. There are two types: the general objective (the purpose of the study) and the specific objectives (the smaller goals that need to be accomplished to reach the general objective).  

Write about the methodology

In this part, it is important to write about the ways to reach the proposed objectives. Talk about the type of research, universe/sample, data collection instruments and methods that will be used to tabulate and interpret the information.

collect data

Explain how the data collection process will be carried out , that is, when, where and with what means it will be carried out.

take care of tabulation

Data obtained during applied research need to be organized through tabulation . Resources such as statistics, tables, charts, graphs and indexes help in this step. 

Analyze and discuss the results

Explain how the data will be analyzed in your study. Remember that this is the time to confirm or refute hypotheses raised at the beginning of the research.

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