Types of Research

Descriptive research is description of the state of affairs as it exists at present. The main characteristic of this method is that the researcher has no control over the variables; he can only report what has happened or what is happening, for example, frequency of shopping, preferences of people. 

Analytical research, the researcher has to use facts or information already available, and analyze these to make a critical evaluation of the material. It explores the prevailing practices and philosophies. For example, effect of TQM on efficiency in organization.

Applied research aims at finding a solution for an immediate problem facing a society or an industrial/business organization. Research aimed at certain conclusions (say, a solution) facing a concrete social or business problem is an example of applied research. Research to identify social, economic or political trends that may affect a particular institution or the marketing research or evaluation research are examples of applied research. The central aim of applied research is to discover a solution for some pressing practical problem.

Fundamental research is mainly concerned with generalizations and with the formulation of a theory. Research concerning some natural phenomenon or relating to pure mathematics are examples of fundamental research. Similarly, research studies, concerning human behavior carried on with a view to make generalizations about human  behavior, are also examples of fundamental research. It is directed towards finding information that has a broad base of applications and thus, adds to the already existing organized body of scientific knowledge.

Quantitative research is based on the measurement of quantity or amount. It is applicable to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantity.

Qualitative research, is concerned with qualitative phenomenon, i.e., phenomena relating to or involving quality, behavior, philosophy etc. For instance, Motivation Research, Attitude Research. This type of research aims at discovering the underlying motives and desires, using in depth interviews for the purpose. To apply qualitative research in practice is relatively a difficult job and therefore, while doing such research, one should seek guidance from experimental psychologists.

Conceptual research is that related to some abstract idea(s) or theory. It is generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop new concepts or to reinterpret existing ones. 

Empirical research relies on experience or observation alone, often without due regard for system and theory. It is data-based research, coming up with conclusions which are capable of being verified by observation or experiment. We can also call it as experimental type of research. In such a research, a working hypothesis or guess as to the probable results is formulated.

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