Types of Social Research

Types of Social Research

  • Fundamental Vs Applied Research 

Fundamental research is also called pure or basic research. The research that is conduct with the objective to development of new theory, new knowledge or to discover new facts are called fundamental research. So this types of research is conduct with the sole objectives to improve the understanding or developing fundamental knowledge which can be generalize in systematic way. The knowledge develop by the research may not have immediate application in the field.

Applied research, in other hand, is conduct with the objectives of solving the specific problem which require the immediate solution. Thus, this research is carried with the main aim of solving existing problems or to improve the knowledge which are immediate applicable. The applied research focus on the knowledge which have immediate application to the existing problem. This research provides fruitful knowledge for decision maker to solve the existing problem.

The differences between fundamental and Applied research are listed in following points:

Pure Vs. applied research

  • Pure research aims to develop theory whereas applied research aim to solve problems
  • Pure research focus on one discipline whereas applied research focus on different discipline
  • Pure research study any problem whereas applied research study problems with important social consequences
  • Pure research restricts to research whereas applied research often is solve in action
  • Pure research requires mainly technical judgments whereas applied research also required situational as well as personalities judgment
  • Pure research tries to say why things are happen whereas applied research tries to say how things are happen
  • Pure research seeks generalizations of facts whereas applied research often studies individual case without objective to generalization  


  • Quantitative Vs Qualitative Research

Quantitative research seeks to collect data which is in a numerical form, and which can be analyzed or presented by using tables or charts of figures, histograms, or statistics. They are best used for questions that related to “quantities”. They are about counting or measuring events or phenomena. Their data are very much associated with the positive approach to research. In this research advance statistical calculations are use as per needs of the research based on the objectives. Linear regression analysis, log regression, simulation, general linear model, etc. as per the need of research objectives.

Qualitative research, on the other hand, consists either of written or spoken words, and does not normally include any numerical measures. They are thus best used for the question that related to “quality” of or variation in experience. In this research simple basic statistical tools are used and data are generally measure in nominal or ordinal scale.

Most exploratory research is qualitative research. Qualitative research methods are connected with an interpretive approach. Following table shows the difference between quantitative and qualitative research:

Qualitative research Quantitative research
Researcher involvement High- researcher is participant Limited- control to prevent bias
Focus of research Understand and interpret Describe, explain and predict
Research purpose In-depth study; theory building Describe or predict; build and test theory
Sample design Nonprobability; purposive Probability sample
Sample size Generally small Generally large
Participant presentation Pre-tasking is common On preparation desired to avoid biasing the participant


  • Descriptive Research

It describes systematically a situation problem, phenomenon, service, program etc.

  • Exploratory Research

It is also called feasibility study or pilot study. In this study researcher have little or no knowledge.

  • Correlation Research

In this method, researcher has to define the variables and find the relationships between them

  •    Explanatory Research

This research explains why and how there is a relationship between two variables. This research shows relation between cause and effect with the help of collected information.

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