Science Fuse

Science for everyone

 

BASIC VS. APPLIED RESEARCH

Microscope There are two fundamental thought processes within the scientific community as they apply to scientific research. Understanding the difference will allow you to understand the area that best applies to you and the topics that you wish to explore further.

BASIC RESEARCH

Basic research also known as fundamental or pure research is driven by a scientist’s curiosity or interest in a question. The main motivation of this type of research is to expand man’s knowledge of the world and not to invent or create something new. There is no obvious commercial value in research of this type.

Basic science research includes answers to such questions as:

  • How did the universe begin?
  • How has man evolved over time?
  • How does genetic code determine who we are?
  • What is the specific genetic code of an earth worm?
  • What are protons, neutrons and electrons made of?

Most scientists believe that a basic understanding of all branches of science is necessary in order for progress to take place. In other words, basic research lays down the foundation for the applied science that follows. The basic work must be done first and then the applied can take the research further where applicable.

APPLIED RESEARCH

Applied research is designed to the practical problems that exist in the modern world, rather than to just acquire knowledge for knowledge’s sake. One main goal of applied science is to improve human conditions and make the world a better place.

Applied science may investigate ways to:

  • improve agricultural crop production
  • get better gas mileage
  • find alternative heating solutions
  • treat or cure a specific disease
  • improve the energy efficiency of homes

Many scientists feel that there should be a shift in scientific research. They feel that with so many problems facing the world today that more attention needs to be focused on the applied sciences to help solve problems like global overpopulation, pollution, illness and the depletion of the earth’s natural resources.

It is important to understand that both of these branches of science work together, and that without the initial research of how things work, it can be difficult to make the improvements that applied scientists are looking to make.

One thing is certain, science is the core of our very existence, and may be just what is needed to save the world.