The term, research, is much stricter in science than in everyday life. It revolves around using the scientific method to generate hypotheses and provide analyzable results. All scientific research has a goal and ultimate aim, repeated and refined experimentation gradually reaching an answer. These results are a way of gradually uncovering truths and finding out about the processes that drive the universe around us. Only by having a rigid structure to experimentation, can results be verified as acceptable contributions to science. Some other areas, such as history and economics, also perform true research, but tend to have their own structures in place for generating solid results. They also contribute to human knowledge but with different processes and systems.
Pure Scientific Research
Some science, often referred to as ‘pure science’, is about explaining the world around us and trying to understand how the universe operates. It is about finding out what is already there without any greater purpose of research than the explanation itself. It is a direct descendent of philosophy, where philosophers and scientists try to understand the underlying principles of existence.
Whilst offering no direct benefits, pure research often has indirect benefits, which can contribute greatly to the advancement of humanity.
For example, pure research into the structure of the atom has led to x-rays, nuclear power and silicon.
Pure research has the scientific research aim to improve scientific theories for improved understanding or prediction of natural or other phenomena. Applied research, in turn, uses scientific theories to develop technology or techniques to intervene and alter natural or other phenomena. Though often driven by curiosity, basic research fuels applied science’s innovations The two aims are often coordinated in research and development.
Applied Scientific Research
Applied scientists might look for answers to specific questions that help humanity, for example medical research or environmental studies. Such research generally takes a specific question and tries to find a definitive and comprehensive answer.
The purpose of research is about testing theories, often generated by pure science, and applying them to real situations, addressing more than just abstract principles.
Applied scientific research can be about finding out the answer to a specific problem, such as ‘Is global warming avoidable?’ or ‘Does a new type of medicine really help the patients?’
Applied research is a methodology used to solve a specific, practical problem of an individual or group. The study and research is used in business, medicine and education in order to find solutions that may cure diseases, solve scientific problems or develop technology.
However, they all involve generating a theory to explain why something is happening and using the full battery of scientific tools and methods to test it rigorously.
This process opens up new areas for further study and a continued refinement of the hypotheses.
Observation is not accurate enough, with statistically testable and analyzable data the only results accepted across all scientific disciplines. The exact nature of the experimental process may vary, but they all adhere to the same basic principles.
Scientists can be opinionated, like anybody else, and often will adhere to their own theories, even if the evidence shows otherwise. Research is a tool by which they can test their own, and each others’ theories, by using this antagonism to find an answer and advance knowledge.
The purpose of research is really an ongoing process of correcting and refining hypotheses, which should lead to the acceptance of certain scientific truths.
Whilst no scientific proof can be accepted as ultimate fact, rigorous testing ensures that proofs can become presumptions. Certain basic presumptions are made before embarking on any research project, and build upon this gradual accumulation of knowledge.