The 10 types of scientific research

Science has different ways of adapting to the type of phenomena it must study. Scientific research is a human activity that uses scientific methods. It is aimed at discovering, interpreting and reviewing facts or behaviors related to nature, and depending on the case, it is done in one way or another. We share some types of scientific research.

Therefore, there are different types of research to increase knowledge within science. Resorting to them is the best option to produce new information, being, in essence, a creative process of discovery through well-defined methods.

The 10 different types of scientific research

The scientific method has clear principles, and it is on them that scientific research is based. Science has developed the scientific method to systematize and validate the different ways of investigating, and that is that you can not build knowledge in any way.

Below are the different types of research. In essence, these are systematic processes that allow us to explain reality or find solutions for different issues, some being more rigid than others.

Types of research according to the level of prior knowledge

Science tries to give an explanation to reality and different situations, but sometimes it starts from a different starting point. When a new question is opened, one must first be interested in the subject, with exploration being the step prior to the confirmation of hypotheses.

  1. Exploratory research

Exploratory investigations are the initial types of research in relation to a phenomenon. It consists of the first approach to reality and serves to create the first hypotheses on a specific issue. Sometimes these issues are generated through the conclusions of other studies, which open new lines of research that should be explored.

  1. Confirmatory research

Confirmatory research is based on the knowledge derived from exploratory research. The assumes once have been the subject of descriptions, comparisons, analysis, and explanations. In this type of research, the scientist tests the congruence of these hypotheses or theories, being able to reformulate some aspects that give a better explanation of the phenomenon or even give rise to new exploratory investigations.

Other users have read: ” The 50 main branches of biology (and their fields of study) ”

Types of research according to the level of depth

There are types of research that try to describe facts, while others try to explain them. The research must adapt to the needs of each situation. Sometimes you have to collect information to describe and represent a phenomenon, while in others you can try to give an explanation.

  1. Descriptive research

The purpose of descriptive research is to describe a fact or reality. It is a type of research frequently combined with exploratory research, being very useful to draw observations from a scientific point of view. It is not intended to explain what happens but represents a starting point for research that does.

  1. Explanatory research

Explanatory research is concerned with giving an explanation of some kind of phenomenon. It can be an issue, whether quantum physics or a social issue and has as its starting point the type of previous research. It is important to keep in mind that it is not intended to find any absolute truth. But can even be very valuable only if it is capable of ruling out any hypothesis.

Types of scientific research according to your objective

Research can have different objectives based on its applicability. To many people, it may seem that there are many theoretical fields and that some do not seem to be useful for everyday problems. This is an erroneous observation, and perhaps partly it is because it is being ignored that theoretical science is capable of giving results for future problems.

  1. Theoretical research

Theoretical research consists in the generation of new knowledge. It is based on describing or explaining a reality, regardless of whether it is something whose applicability is immediate or not. This is a type of fundamental research, and sometimes it may seem that it has no practical applications, but in future times it may be the basis of some practical solution. It is one of the best types of scientific research.

  1. Practical research

Practical research tries to give applicability to scientific knowledge. It is a type of research that ends up offering solutions to real problems in life, which has a huge potential for change in the life of the human being. Examples of the applicability of scientific research are industrial technological development and the creation of Research and Development (R & D) departments.

Types of research according to the data used

Scientific research also differs according to the type of data that was analyzed. According to the reality that must be studied these will be of one nature or another. So the scientific method must be adapted.

  1. Qualitative research

Qualitative research is based on the value of non-numerical information. Different facts may be observable but not quantifiable, and there are different phenomena that are subjective and/or not very controllable. In social sciences, this type of research must resort to many times more than in the empirical sciences.

  1. Quantitative research

Quantitative research uses different objective data. It is a way of doing research that basically takes into account numerical data in order to describe, explain or interpret a phenomenon. Sometimes some qualitative data can be transformed into qualitative information, for example by creating ordinal categories.

Types of scientific research according to the moment of collecting the data

Science must study phenomena related to a temporary moment. But it is also important to know the evolution of many of them. Below is how the research is adapted in each case so that scientific studies can be relevant in each case.

  1. Cross-sectional research

Longitudinal research conducts studies focused on a moment of time. This way of investigating focuses on comparing data belonging to different experimental groups, these being collected in the same time period. This makes it possible to compare samples from different populations that might not even exist in the future or in the past. It is another best types of scientific research.

  1. Longitudinal research

Longitudinal research, on the other hand, conducts studies over time in the same sample. During a specific period, the data is collected and studied, which allows conclusions to be drawn about a phenomenon. For example, different studies can be carried out every 10 years to deal with issues as different as the development of diseases or demographic studies in a territory.


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