Nova A.
Nova A.

Types of Research - Methodologies and Characteristics

10 min read

Published on: May 13, 2021

Last updated on: Jan 30, 2024

types of research

Are you struggling to choose the right research method for your project?

There are so many different research methods available. It can be overwhelming to determine which one is best suited for your project's specific needs. 

Not knowing the differences between each type of research can lead to inefficient data and less effective decision-making.

Fear not! 

In this blog post, we'll break down the different types of research methods and provide guidance on when to use each one. 

By the end of this post, you'll have a clear understanding of which research method is right for your project. You'll be on your way to collecting accurate and insightful data.

So why wait? Let’s dive in!

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What is Research?

Research is a careful and detailed study of a particular problem or a topic using scientific methods. It is an inquiry through which a researcher describes, predicts, explains, and observes a certain problem or phenomenon.

Research is not done for only scientific subjects and issues, but non-scientific issues like social issues are also researched.

This is the reason that students of almost every field and discipline are asked to conduct research for their degree.

Different Research Methods 

There are basically two research methods involved in the research; a deductive and an inductive method.

In the inductive method, the researcher collects data through observation, interviews, surveys, or other methods. He then uses that data to develop a theory or hypothesis. 

This hypothesis is then tested through additional data collection and analysis. 

Inductive research is often used in qualitative research, where the focus is on understanding the perspectives of individuals or groups.

On The Other Hand

In the deductive method, the researcher starts with a theory or hypothesis and then uses data to test and validate that theory. 

This approach is often used in quantitative research, where numerical data is collected and analyzed using statistical methods.

Types of Research

There are different types of research conducted on different subjects and for different purposes. It is important to understand that every topic takes a specific research type.

Below are the common types of research. Let’s discuss them in detail.

Applied Research

Applied research is the type of research that researches the facts and finds the opportunity for further investigation. This is research based on experiments and applies different concepts and theories to prove and validate the answer offered by fundamental research.

The key components of this research include:

  • Applied research aims to study a specific research problem or case with an objective.
  • It studies all the minor and major aspects like variables and or data that make a difference.
  • This research proposes a possible change.
  • It discards and eliminates wrong facts.
  • The research is done in common and simple language.

The applied research can further be multiplied into three types; quantitative, qualitative, and mixed research.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is a study that is based on numbers, figures, and statistics. In this research type, the quantitative data collected and gathered is in the form of numbers, graphs, and tables. The collected data is then studied to come up with results.

The data collected for this research is from:

  • Questionnaires
  • Surveys
  • Polls

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is a research type that is based on theories and the quality of the data. This research deals with the descriptions, and the chosen issue is referred to as the previous studies and research.

The basic purpose of this research is to investigate and explain a specific question. Qualitative research includes the following qualitative methods to gather data:

  • Case Studies
  • Interviews
  • Ethnographic research
  • Focused groups

Mixed Research

This research is a blend of both techniques; qualitative and quantitative. Each qualitative and quantitative research has limitations. But by bringing the best of both the researches, more targeted results are achieved.

In this research type, the analysis is made using mixed methods on both the numerical data and the theoretical concepts.

Action Research

Action research is a research type that analyzes, evaluates, and investigates institutional and organizational methods.

This is done to examine if the existing methods of data collection need any betterment and improvement.

An example of action research might involve working with a community organization to develop and implement a program to reduce poverty in a particular neighborhood.

Descriptive Research

Descriptive research is similar to a descriptive essay. Just as the essay describes an event, the research describes an event and phenomenon as well.

The main research question this research is studied and the causes and reasons behind it.

An example of descriptive research might involve conducting a survey to determine the prevalence of a particular disease among a specific population.

Exploratory Research

This is the research type in which a problem or a topic is researched because there were no clear studies present before regarding the issue. This research demands priorities creates an operational definition, and provides a better research model than the existing one.

Moreover, it helps you to draw conclusions from the research design. Also, it is different from explanatory research.

 An example of exploratory research might involve conducting focus groups to explore consumers' attitudes and behaviors related to a new product.

Policy-Oriented Research

Policy-oriented research is a type of research that studies the issues faced by the public and aims to solve these issues using different methods.

This research informs and understands the prevailing public issues that will help in decision-making.

The useful policies and implementation of the changes can be done through this research type. It is social-scientific research.

An example of policy-oriented research might involve conducting a cost-benefit analysis of a proposed environmental regulation to determine its potential impact.
  • Basic Research

Basic or fundamental research is a simple investigation that a person does on the basic principles or concepts. That is involved in the occurrence of a particular issue, event, or phenomenon. 

Concepts and ideas related to science are studied and examined using this research type.

Basic research does the following things:

  • It searches for generalized information and ideas.
  • Use basic methods and processes.
  • Explain the basic reasons behind an event
  • Gathers as much information and data as possible
An example of basic research might involve studying the genetics of a particular species of plant to better understand how it has evolved over time.

Correlational Research

This type of research examines the relationship between two or more variables. It seeks to determine if they are related and to what extent. 

Correlational research can be used to identify patterns and to make predictions about future behavior.

For example, a study may examine the correlation between smoking and lung cancer to determine if there is a relationship between the two variables.

Ethnographic Research 

This type of research involves observing and interacting with a specific culture or group of people. It is done to gain insight into their beliefs, customs, and practices. 

Ethnographic research often involves extended periods of fieldwork and can provide in-depth information about the culture being studied.

An example of ethnographic research might involve studying the daily life of a particular indigenous tribe in the Amazon rainforest to gain insight into their customs, beliefs, and practices.

Experimental Research 

This type of research involves manipulating one or more variables in order to observe the effects on another variable. 

Experimental research is often used to establish cause-and-effect relationships between variables and is commonly used in the natural and social sciences.

For example, a study might investigate the effect of a new medication on blood pressure by randomly assigning participants to receive the medication or a placebo and then measuring their blood pressure levels.

Historical Research 

This type of research involves examining past events, people, and cultures in order to gain insight into the present. 

Historical research often involves analyzing primary sources, such as letters, diaries, and government documents.

An example of historical research might involve analyzing diaries, letters, and other primary sources to gain a better understanding of what life was like for women in the 19th century.

Phenomenological Research

This type of research involves exploring individuals' subjective experiences of a particular phenomenon, such as a medical condition or a life event. 

Phenomenological research seeks to understand the meaning individuals attribute to their experiences and is often used in psychology and healthcare research.

For example, a study might use phenomenological research to understand the experience of living with a chronic illness by interviewing individuals about their day-to-day experiences and emotions related to their illness.

Conclusive Research 

This type of research is used to provide conclusive evidence on a research question or hypothesis. 

Conclusive research is often conducted through experiments, surveys, or observations to provide clear and conclusive findings. 

This type of research is used to make informed decisions about marketing, product development, or business strategy.

For example, a pharmaceutical company may conduct conclusive research to determine the effectiveness of a new drug compared to a placebo.

Expert Tip

If you are interested in learning how to write a research paper, you can check our blog on how to write a research paper!

Key Features of Conducting Research

Research is conducted for a lot of purposes. It is done through the consideration of the rules, concepts, and research design. 

It has some characteristics that differ from other forms of writing. These characteristics include:

  • For the data collection for the research paper, a systematic approach is needed
  • Your research is based only on logical and strong reasons. Both deductive and inductive reasoning can be done in research.
  • Data should be deeply analyzed and gathered at single and several points in time.
  • Your research should be opening a new path of questions
  • Your research should be accurate and reliable.
  • Your research should contain causal relationships

Tips for Choosing a Research Methodology 

Choosing a research methodology is an important decision that can have a significant impact on the outcomes of a research project. 

Here are some tips to consider when selecting a research methodology:

Consider the research question: The research question should guide the selection of the research methodology. 

For example, if the research question aims to explore individuals' subjective experiences, qualitative research methods may be more appropriate than quantitative research methods.

Evaluate the available data: The type and amount of data available can also influence the choice of research methodology. 

If there is a large amount of numerical data available, quantitative research methods may be more suitable. 

Conversely, if data is limited or difficult to quantify, qualitative research methods may be more appropriate.

Assess the research context: The context of the research project can also influence the choice of research methodology. 

For example, if the research project involves sensitive topics, qualitative research methods may be more effective in ensuring participants' confidentiality and privacy.

Consider the researcher's skills and expertise: The researcher's skills and expertise in a particular research methodology should also be considered. 

Conducting research using a methodology that the researcher is not familiar with can lead to errors in data collection and analysis.

Review previous research: Previous research in the area of interest can also inform the selection of research methodology. 

Reviewing previous research can help identify the most appropriate methodology based on the research question, available data, and research context.

It is no doubt a daunting job to conduct research. But if you know which type of research to conduct and what methodologies to use to gather data for the research, it becomes easier. 

Many students find research very challenging and always want professional help to conduct their research. is a reliable academic writing service for students. 

Our professionals aim to provide expert guidance and help to the students by providing written assignments. 

Or you can get your papers and essays written today by our AI essay writer, so give it a try now.

Nova A.


Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

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