Q: What are the core types or forms of research?

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How can I answer the above question?

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Research is defined as an academic activity involving systematic and rigorous investigation of a specific topic in a given subject area, in order to find solutions to a given problem or validate existing knowledge. Any research activity should aim at adding new and hitherto unknown knowledge to the existing body of literature.


There are different core/forms of research – they differ from each other in the kind of methodology used for the study. This is again based on the research problem at hand, the user group that it is aimed to cater to, the knowledge gap it aims to fill etc.


The different ‘forms of research’ are as follows:

  1. Basic research: conducted largely for the enhancement of knowledge, and is research which does not have immediate commercial potential.
  2. Applied research: designed to solve practical problems of the modern world.
  3. Descriptive research: also known as statistical research that involves surveys and fact-finding enquiries of different kinds.
  4. Analytical research: where facts or information are used to analyse or critically evaluate the data.
  5. Qualitative research: involves collecting, analysing and interpreting data by observing what people do and say. It refers to the meanings, definitions, characteristics, symbols, metaphors, and description of things.
  6. Quantitative research: is based on the measurement of quantity or amount and compares it with past records and tries to project for future period.
  7. Conceptual research: is related to some abstract idea(s) or theory to develop new concepts or to reinterpret existing ones.
  8. Empirical research: is an experimental type of research which relies on an experience or observation.
  9. Ethanographic research: investigates a particular culture through in-depth study of the members of that culture.
  10. Historical research: involves analysis of facts/events that occurred in the recent/distant past.
  11. Exploratory research: is conducted when the problem has not been clearly defined
  12. Phenomenological research: aims to describe an experience as it is actually lived by a person.
  13. The other types of research include: One-time research or longitudinal research, Field-setting research or laboratory research or simulation research, Clinical or diagnostic research, Conclusion oriented research, Case study research, Short term research.

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