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Applied science is the application of existing scientific knowledge to practical applications, like technology or inventions.
Within natural science, disciplines that are basic science, also called pure science, develop basic information to predict and perhaps explain and understand phenomena in the natural world. Applied science is the use of scientific processes and knowledge as the means to achieve a particular practical or useful result. This includes a broad range of applied science related fields from engineering, business, medicine to early childhood education.
Applied science can also apply formal science, such as statistics and probability theory, as in epidemiology. Genetic epidemiology is an applied science applying both biological and statistical methods.
Applied research is the practical application of science. It accesses and uses accumulated theories, knowledge, methods, and techniques, for a specific, 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 hypotheses or pillar questions. The OECD's Frascati Manual describes applied research as one of the three forms of research, along with basic research & experimental development.
Due to its practical focus, applied research information will be found in the literature associated with individual disciplines.
Branches of applied science
Engineering fields include thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, statics, dynamics, mechanics of materials, kinematics, electromagnetism, materials science, earth sciences, engineering physics.
Medical sciences, for instance medical microbiology and clinical virology, are applied sciences that apply biology toward medical knowledge and inventions, but not necessarily medical technology, whose development is more specifically biomedicine or biomedical engineering.
In Canada, the Netherlands and other places the Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) is equivalent to the Bachelor of Engineering, and is classified as a professional degree. The BASc tends to focus more on the application of the engineering sciences. In Australia and New Zealand this degree is awarded in various fields of study and is considered a highly specialized professional degree.
In the United Kingdom's educational system, Applied Science refers to a suite of "vocational" science qualifications that run alongside "traditional" General Certificate of Secondary Education or A-Level Sciences. Applied Science courses generally contain more coursework (also known as portfolio or internally assessed work) compared to their traditional counterparts. These are an evolution of the GNVQ qualifications that were offered up to 2005. These courses regularly come under scrutiny and are due for review following the Wolf Report 2011; however, their merits are argued elsewhere.
In the United States, The College of William & Mary offers an undergraduate minor as well as Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in "applied science." Courses and research cover varied fields including neuroscience, optics, materials science and engineering, nondestructive testing, and nuclear magnetic resonance. In New York City, the Bloomberg administration awarded the consortium of Cornell-Technion $100 million in City capital to construct the universities' proposed Applied Sciences campus on Roosevelt Island.
- 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". Archived from the original on August 18, 2011. 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). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 7, 2011. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
- "Open J-gate journals". Archived from the original on September 2, 2011. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
- Donnelly, Jim. "Applied Science - an invisible revolution?" (pdf). Nuffield Foundation. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- Wolf, Alison (March 2011). Review of Vocational Education - The Wolf Report (Report). Department for Education and Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. DFE-00031-2011. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- Bell, Jacqueline; Donnelly, Jim (2007). Positioning Applied Science In Schools: Uncertainty, Opportunity and Risk in Curriculum Reform (PDF) (Report). University of Leeds. Centre for Studies in Science & Mathematics Education. Archived from the original (pdf) on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- "Applied Science". William & Mary. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- "Mayor Bloomberg, Cornell President Skorton and Technion President Lavie announce historic partnership to build a new applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island" (Press release). The City of New York. Office of the Mayor. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2015.