Types of Research and their Distinctions

Generally, research is classified into two types—basic or pure research and applied research. If the research’s aim is to come up with new knowledge or contribute to the existing body of knowledge, it is classified as basic or pure research. In this type of research, an explanation is introduced about an existing (or new) idea. In .contrast, if the aim is to find applications for the theories or create a product employing the existing idea or theory, the research can be categorized under applied research.

What is the difference between qualitative research and quantitative research?

Research can also be classified according to the method or approach it uses. Basically, there are two general methods of inquiry employed in conducting research—qualitative and quantitative.

Qualitative research employs qualitative methods and deals with the characteristics observed from the respondents with minimal to no use of statistical analysis. Quantitative research, on the other hand, uses quantitative procedures where the respondents’ traits are translated numerically. It focuses on the analysis and interpretation of the raw numerical data gathered based on statistical outcomes. To remember easily how qualitative and quantitative research differ from each other, researchers bear in mind that they qualify characteristics and quantify numbers. A brief comparison between qualitative and quantitative research methods is shown in the table below.

Qualitative Research Quantitative Research

Understands underlying reasons

Gains insights in the prevailing trends

Is interpretative and contextualized

Expresses data in terms of numerical values as gathered from the respondents

Draws out exact ideas from samples

Hypotheses Hypotheses may emerge as the study progresses. Hypotheses are specifically stated at the outset and tested.
Sample Comes in small numbers. The respondents (usually referred to as subjects) are identified using nonprobability sampling. Comes in large numbers. The respondents are selected to represent the population of interest using probability sampling.
Data collection Unstructured (free in form) procedures Structured procedures
Data analysis

Data is analyzed inductively.

Minimal to no use of statistical test

Data is analyzed deductively.

Requires the use of statistical tests


Inconclusive and needs further study before recommending a course of action

Findings are conclusive, usually descriptive in nature, and are used to recommend a final course of action.


Findings are particularly in-depth about a certain phenomenon.

Findings are generalizable to all situations.