Applied Research

Definition: Applied research design is a methodology in which the goal is to find solutions to problems and evaluate possible solutions by drawing upon the best available facts and data. This approach often leads to concrete solutions that can be implemented to address a specific problem. 

Applied research seeks to clarify or narrow existing concepts or theories. It deals with facts or data gathered through scientific methods and is designed to support or complicate existing thinking. When applied to a product or industry, applied research can lead to innovations that make more sense and help consumers make better products or live healthier lives.

The application of research can be applied at multiple levels. Sometimes research is taking place within a company or institution. For example, if a company is interested in developing new methods to measure profitability, it could apply applied research to examine how improving its financial reporting would improve its profitability.  Other times, applied research occurs outside of a company, such as when researchers are studying the effects of a new nutritional supplement on consumers.

Applied Research is a type of experimental research that examines an existing problem using theoretical and survey methods. It may involve trying out different solutions, looking at data gathered from a sample or breakdown of behavior into sub-behaviors, conducting focus groups to discuss a topic further, analyzing administrative records to determine how government regulations impact businesses.

Types of Applied Research

  1. Evaluation Research

    Evaluation research is usually carried out by experienced professionals familiar with the organization, its clients, its products or services, and its audience. They may be hired by the client directly or indirectly through an agency. In some cases, an outside party may also be hired to carry out evaluation research, such as a market research company.
  2. Research and Development

    Research and Development is the process of discovering, testing, and adjusting newly developed products and processes to improve them. Since it applies both within an organization and across it – from early research and development within one production department to ongoing research and development across many product departments and even beyond – Applied Research encompasses all areas of activities that shape and sustain its success.
  3. Action research

    Action research can help a business grow. It can measure potential customers’ needs and wants so that they can fulfill them. Action research can suggest solutions to problems that may not have been specifically identified or pursued by management. Action research is the process of identifying the actions, attitudes, and motivations of how a company is changing its behavior to get more customers, increase revenue, or improve quality.

Example of Applied Research in Business

Applied research is the process of gathering information, trying to understand how things work, analyzing results, making predictions, and designing solutions. This kind of research is frequently done by companies looking to develop a product or improve an existing one.

The main objective of applied research is to find out what somebody actually needs and then developing a product or service that fulfills it. Often, industry analysts will conduct interviews with company executives or customers of a product to better understand what their needs are. With this kind of information, it is then possible to create a better product or service to satisfy these needs more effectively.

Contractual research can provide business owners with invaluable insight into their target market. This is done by observing how different customers react to the same product or service. Contractual research is arguably the most powerful way of getting accurate demographic, socio-economic, and behavioral data for a company. Business owners can understand how customers will react to various offers and promotions across various product categories.

Research allows management to identify underutilized skills and attributes, prioritize those most highly desirable, and put the necessary resources into developing them. In general, applying research leads to sustainable productivity initiatives that can be implemented at any level of organization.

Applied Research Methods

A researcher gathers data through a variety of methods. Sometimes qualitative methods (i.e., asking people direct questions about their experience) are employed to gain a more honest account of state of the art in a field. Other times quantitative data can be gathered through surveys or statistical analysis. In either case, it is usually necessary for the researcher to make some assumptions about how the various variables will react to one another. Once these assumptions have been made, it is possible to make statements about the state of the art regarding the specified variable.

Below are the methods used for applied research

1. Interview

An interview is considered one of the most effective methods in gathering information, and it comes with many benefits. For example, an interviewee may provide valuable insights about their conditions or behavior. This gives researchers a better idea of how to design experiments to maximize the information they gather. In addition, an interviewee’s willingness to participate in an experiment can increase its value. This is because it allows researchers to create a social bond with their subjects, which benefits both parties. Depending on the research purpose, an interview can be structured, semi-structured, or unstructured.

2. Questionnaire

A questionnaire is a tool used for obtaining relevant information from subjects. Subjects may be asked to respond to questions concerning a topic of interest or the like. Questionnaires are sometimes called open-ended because respondents may be asked to provide examples of situations in which they have used certain terminology or formulae. In some forms of applied research, the researcher himself or herself may fill out questionnaire forms after receiving the input of other experts. Qualitative research involves the collection of data through an oral or written form. It may include interviewing, observing, or recording data. Research can be conducted on an unlimited number of individuals and may be open to interpretation and revision as the researcher understands how different people answer questions.

3. Data Reporting

The purpose of applied research is to collect data systematically to provide a more comprehensive picture of an issue or topic. This systematic approach is essential because of the limitations associated with individual research. When you are doing applied research, you are trying to answer questions about a particular issue scientifically. Applied research aims to provide data that can be used to make a more informed decision on applying a solution or policy to the problem you have selected.

4. Observation

Observation is an important part of applied research. It can help you understand how your data will behave in the long term and how useful or incorrect it is. Observers are people who have a specific goal in mind and are willing to make an effort to achieve it. The purpose of observation is to lay the foundation for deductive reasoning, which begins with an intuitive understanding of cause and effect. When applied to business, observation can help an executive make informed decisions based on accurate, objective data.

5. Focus Group

The main idea is that research can be used to solve real-world problems. There is nothing magic about it, and many real-world organizations could benefit from implementing some of the ideas put forward in applied research. Applied research has been around for decades and has a lot of support from mainstream academia and industry. However, many people are unaware that a lot of their daily routine is derived from research that has been proven to work in previous situations.