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Difference Between Basic Research and Applied Research

Basic Research vs Applied Research

We all know about research and how important it is for the mankind for building upon our knowledge base. Research it is that makes possible discoveries and also helps in solving myriad puzzles about our world and indeed in entire universe. But research has been broadly classified into basic research and applied research, and there are many who do not have a clear idea about these categories. There is also a heated debate going on about the usefulness of basic research and whether governments should provide funds more for applied than basic research. To have answers to all these questions, read on.

There is no doubt that both basic as well as applied research is invaluable for mankind, simply because both lead to enhance our knowledge base. It is true that applied research appears to be more valuable as it attempts to unravel mysteries that are posing problems for mankind. Applied research is geared to find solutions to or remedies to ailments causing misery for us, or to help save us from calamities, whether natural or man made. In this sense it may appear that applied research is more necessary as it lessens our suffering but basic research is just as valuable as it attempts to build upon our existing knowledge base and gathers facts and data that may be of great use tomorrow.

It is clear then that applied research makes heavy use of the basic research conducted in the subject matter by previous researchers or else it would be impossible to pin point or get to the reasons of a particular problem, let alone finding solutions to various problems. All those scientists working upon finding remedy for cancers draw upon a wealth of information that is there, collected and gleaned from the basic research done by researchers earlier.

Even in the case of sudden discoveries, that scientist seem to stumble upon, are handiwork of basic research as scientists try to work upon theories developed by basic researchers and come up with a novel idea that leads to a new invention. This is when it is difficult to say which is which. Thus it is clear that the debate whether government should spend tax payer’s money on basic research or fund more of applied research as it appears to solve exigencies is a mere hogwash. Yes, basic research is more generalized, and it does not solve any problems, but it develops a data base that helps immensely those involved in applied research.

There are some who argue that studies of animals, geological phenomenon, and archeological surveys and research are a waste of money as they gather information that is of no apparent use to mankind. But then the same can said about study of various art and social science subjects. It should be understood that even applied research needs a point to start, and if there is a full stop to basic research, it would be well nigh impossible for applied scientists to find a starting point for their endeavors. This groundwork is methodically produced by those involved in basic research, and as such its importance can never be underestimated.

In brief:

Basic Research vs Applied Research

• Basic research is generalized research that intends to gather information and build upon our knowledge base.

• Applied research is conducted to solve problems facing mankind or to make lives easier through new inventions.

• While there are some who favor applied research but all agree that basic research is just as invaluable to mankind.


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