Nova A.
Nova A.

Types of Research With Examples - A Detailed Guide

8 min read

Published on: Jan 14, 2018

Last updated on: Mar 16, 2023

Types of Research

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Research is a systematic process of gathering and analyzing data to learn more about a problem. It is the habit of raising questions like ‘what,’ ‘how,’ ‘why’ about a particular situation.

Writing a good research paper is a daunting and challenging task. The first thing while writing a research paper is to plan the research process.

You should decide what type of research you need to do. For that, you develop questions for it and decide how best to conduct it.

So continue reading!

This blog will discuss different types of research designs and what they are used for.

Types of Research

Research originates with a question or a problem, and it requires a complete set of plans to design the study. There are many types of research used to conduct a systematic study in a particular field of information. The types of scientific research are classified into three categories according to a specific perspective.

  • Application of research studies
  • Objectives in undertaking the research
  • Inquiry mode employed

The words or perspectives you use to describe your research are concerned explicitly with your field or study discipline.

Below you can find common types of research methodology.


The following is a detailed description of these research types.

Applied Research

Applied research is a more hands-on approach to solving problems in the real world. It is the experimental implementation of basic research.

This type of research mainly focuses on examining how to apply a newly discovered and accepted theory in practice. The results have commercial benefits that are immediate or direct.

It is further divided into three main types.

  1. Qualitative Research

    Qualitative research is a detailed and nuanced approach to understanding human experience. The qualitative researchers observe the widest range of words, meanings, emotions, gestures, and tone in their work with participants.

    It seeks out richness through close observations and theoretical insights about what people feel without being influenced by outside sources. It is closely related to descriptive research and exploratory in nature.

    Qualitative research methods typically deal with non-numerical types of data. It usually refers to the data collection mechanisms related to conversational techniques. Types of qualitative methods include:

    • Case study
    • Focus groups
    • Text analysis
    • Ethnographic studies
    • One-to-one interview

    These methods help to understand what a specific group of people think about a particular problem. And also, why they think in that specific way.

  2. Quantitative Research

    Quantitative research emphasizes generalizability, objectivity, and precision. It deals with non-descriptive and numeric data. ‘What,’ ‘where,’ and ‘when’ aspects of a phenomenon are investigated by quantitative research.

    Quantitative methods typically deal with numbers and quantifiable or measurable data. It creates a relationship between quantifiable data to control, predict, and explain a phenomenon. Types of quantitative methods include:

    • Survey
    • Description
    • Correlation

    These methods help you ensure that your data is reliable, accurate, and valid. However, incorrect results may lead to an invaluable conclusion.

    The qualitative and quantitative sampling methods are used in all types of research to collect data. However, some research projects involved the mixed methods of sampling where both types of sampling are combined.

    Mixed methods are used where the nature of research requires both numerical and descriptive data. It entirely depends on the type of research and the field of study you are researching for.

  3. Mixed Research

    Mixed research involves the mixing of qualitative and quantitative research methods. The nature of data is a mixture of images, words, and variables.

    It is also known as integrative research. Here, a theory or an idea may be developed by using both types of data to prove the concept.

    Mixed method designs are used when researchers want to verify whether previous hypotheses or theories are correct. They also need to acquire new information regarding that same topic.

    • Researchers of mixed methods can be seen as investigators who:
    • Have collected multiple types of data from a variety of contexts.
    • Integrate and analyze their findings through an explicit conceptual framework.
    • Examine multiple types of relationships across variables within individuals, groups, systems, and settings.
    • Make sense of results in ways that could not be achieved with single method approaches alone.

Pure Research

Pure research is also known as basic or fundamental research. It is carried out to increase knowledge about a fundamental principle. It is an investigation of basic principles and reasons for the occurrence of a specific phenomenon, process, or event.

The results of basic research have no immediate or direct commercial benefits. However, it provides a systematic and in-depth insight into a problem and becomes the basis for the applied research.

Descriptive Research

Descriptive research attempts to describe a phenomenon, problem, or situation systematically. It aims to provide information about a particular program, services, or a general subject. It is directed towards studying the ‘what’ aspect of something.

Descriptive research examples may include:

  • Effects of living in a house with domestic violence
  • The attitude of doctors and nurses towards death and dying
  • Types of services provided by an organization or company

Correlational Research

Correlational research establishes or explores the relationship between two or more aspects of a particular thing. It is used to discover the existing association or interdependence among the different elements of a situation.

The correlational research examples include:

  • Impact of bonuses on the productivity of employees
  • Impact of technology on employment
  • Relationship between heart attacks and stressful living

Exploratory Research

As the name suggests, it explores an area where little is known. It involves exploring a new phenomenon to give researchers a better understanding to use in a subsequent study. It is broad and rarely provides a definite answer to a specific research question.

It rather gives valuable insights into what may occur if something were changed about the problem being investigated.

Here are some exploratory research examples:

  • Effectiveness of immunization programs in controlling infectious diseases
  • Effect of advertising on the sale of a product
  • Impacts of child health services on infant mortality

Explanatory Research

As the name suggests, it clarifies or explains how or why there is a relationship between two aspects of a problem. It asks a ‘why’ question and tries to understand the relationship between characteristics of an event, situation, group, or individual.

The following are some explanatory research examples:

  • Why do some people adopt a habit while others don’t?
  • Why do some people use a product while others don’t?
  • Why does stressful living result in heart failure?

Longitudinal Research

Longitudinal research involves the collection of data at multiple points in time. It is often used in developmental studies.

The significance of longitudinal research lies in:

  • Measuring change over time.
  • Testing causality.
  • Establishing reliability and validity of measurement across time.

This type of research employs data collection methods, including personal interviews, surveys, archival records, or observations. It can also be a mixed-method involving more than one type of data collection method to achieve different goals.

Longitudinal research may take three different forms:

1. Panel Study - It traces the same sample

2. Cohort Study - It looks at a subpopulation over time.

3. Trend Study - It analyzes the characteristics of a population over time.

Cross-Sectional Research

Cross-sectional research is a type of descriptive and exploratory research. It is designed to look at how things are present without considering the history or trend at work.

This type of research can be applied to many types of topics but is usually focused on human characteristics. Unlike surveys, it looks at the different types of humans and how they are unique.

Cross-sectional studies are generally conducted when survey data has been collected objectively. The findings of this study can be used for further research.

Action Research

Action research deals with finding the facts to improve the quality of a particular action. It investigates an ongoing situation to change it for the better through further understanding and development.

This method has been used for years by practitioners and theorists alike.

Action research can be both quantitative and qualitative types research. It seeks to improve practice through active exploration; analyze processes, situations, or events, obtain feedback from participants and customers.

Policy-Oriented Research

Policy-oriented research deals with finding a solution to a specific problem. It looks at how a problem can be solved or prevented by using existing ideas and practices. It can be based on theories, scientific evidence, past experience, or other types of research methods.

It is usually carried out by research organizations or institutions such as think tanks, government policy, and research departments. It may also be conducted by consulting firms that offer expert advice on the issues surrounding a problem.

Here, the research questions are usually well defined and often have one correct answer. The goal of this research type is to provide that answer.

Comparative Research

Comparative research studies find the differences and similarities between variables at all levels. It studies the behavior of variables in different types of environments.

Comparative research is like comparing things in our everyday life. The researcher looks at many types of data and tries to determine a tangible relationship between two or more variables.

If variables show a relationship, the researcher tries to find out if this is significant or not.

Causal Research

Causal research establishes the cause-and-effect relationship between units. The objective of this research is to determine whether an independent variable affects a dependent or criterion variable.

Causal research provides evidence that one event causes another event to happen (A causes B). Thus, it involves randomized experimentation because the goal is to create comparison groups that are similar.

These are the types of research for both scientific and non-scientific academic fields. New processes, phenomena, events, and problems occur every day in our life. We need some practical and implementable solutions to tackle those problems. Therefore, research is required to find causes, answers, and applications for underlying issues.

If you have any difficulty choosing the type of research, you can get help from our professional writers. We understand that research paper writing is a daunting task, and not every student can write a good paper.

Worry not! is here to help you with all your writing worries.

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Nova A.


Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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