Applied research is a form of systematic inquiry involving the practical application of science. It accesses and uses some part of the research communities' (the academia's) accumulated theories, knowledge, methods, and techniques, for a specific, often state-, business-, or client-driven purpose. Applied research is contrasted with pure research (basic research) in discussion about research ideals, methodologies, programs, and projects.
Applied research deals with solving practical problems and generally employs empirical methodologies. Because applied research resides in the messy real world, strict research protocols may need to be relaxed. For example, it may be impossible to use a random sample. Thus, transparency in the methodology is crucial. Implications for interpretation of results brought about by relaxing an otherwise strict canon of methodology should also be considered. Since Applied Research has a provisional close to the problem and close to the data orientation it may also use a more provisional conceptual framework such as working hypothesis or pillar questions.
Due to its practical focus, applied research information will be found in the literature associated with individual disciplines.
The military is an organization that performs a lot of applied research. For example, they may want to know about the efficacy of soldier training, how well recruitment practices work, how best to deal with host nationals in times of war, how to use the internet to reduce home grown terrorists, and the effectiveness of operational styles.
- Roll-Hansen, Nils (April 2009). Why the distinction between basic (theoretical) and applied (practical) research is important in the politics of science (PDF) (Report). The London School of Economics and Political Science. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
- "a definition of applied research". Retrieved August 17, 2011.(The site appears to be available, but returns a 'forbidden' response, suggesting that only certain IP ranges or recognized accounts might have access.)
- Shields, Patricia and Rangarjan, N. 2013. A Playbook for Research Methods: Integrating Conceptual Frameworks and Project Management. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press. (See Chapter 5 "Exploration - Working Hypotheses" pp. 109-158)
- The following are examples of applied research using working hypotheses 1) Swift, James T. 2010. "Exploring Capital Metro’s Sexual Harassment Training Using Dr. Bengt-Ake Lundvall’s Taxonomy of Knowledge Principles". Applied Research Projects’’, Texas State University. 2) Gillfillan, Abigail. 2008. "Using Geographic Information Systems to Develop and Analyze Land-Use Policies". Applied Research Projects’’, Texas State University. 3) Thornton, Wayne 2000. "A Descriptive and Exploratory Study of the Ethics Program at Austin State Hospital: The Common Elements of the Program and Managers' Beliefs About the Purpose and Usefulness of the Program". Applied Research Projects’’, Texas State University.
- "Frascati Manual Page 30" (PDF). Retrieved August 17, 2011.
- "Open J-gate journals". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
- Soeters, Joseph; Shields, Patricia and Rietjens, Sebastiaan. Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in Military Studies New York: Routledge, 2014.
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