There are two types of research: fundamental and applied. The first is essentially the exploration of natural phenomena so that scientists can better understand and accurately anticipate them. The practical application of any information learned during fundamental research is considered neither a motivator nor a consequence of the process, and, indeed, is disregarded in favor of developing scientific theory alone.
Applied research, on the other hand, is designed to solve a specific problem. It seeks to uncover information that can be applied to the design of products, services and policies/procedures that improve upon or replace existing ones.
In market research —veritably, all research— there is benefit to doing both types of study. Fundamental research provides a foundation on which applied research can build, creating a framework that allows questions to drive answers that drive more questions and more answers and so on. It’s a circular cycle, the elements of which, when done in sequence or in tandem, generate insight that supports entire disciplines by strengthening both hypothetical and empirical thought.
Of course, we know that businesses need to assess a market. Often they can use syndicated reports and/or academic studies to develop a better understanding of the economic, political and other factors affecting business markets and consumers. They can also design studies that uncover this type of information themselves. But what about applied research? While it might be easier, at least in theory (pun intended!), to contemplate how or why something works, it can be a lot harder to manage research that uncovers data that helps you actually improve the way that it works. Here are two very important reasons why your business needs applied research:
Applied Research is Proprietary
As mentioned, applied research, by design, strives to solve an identified problem. A company can’t use generic information (like fundamental research, as well as secondary research) to do that. Instead, it must craft research tools explicitly developed to answer questions about their own products/services, their own customers and their own resources. To this end, applied research is proprietary, meaning it pertains only to the particular questions of the researchers (i.e., the companies) who design it. This is important because it allows businesses to address and improve upon issues within their own companies instead of just learning what exists (for someone else).
Applied Research Saves You Money
When done well, applied research yields actionable results. It provides answers to pertinent questions, allowing companies to make better decisions about all of their business practices. And better practices ultimately lead to greater success. With accurate and relevant insight, companies can save money since they are able to maximize the things that work for them, minimize or negate the things that don’t and, thus, reduce the amount of resources and time spent on each.
Want to Learn More?
At Communications for Research (CFR), we believe all research is beneficial and always strive to design well-rounded studies that address both theoretical and practical need. We take time with all our clients so that we understand their unique circumstances and develop a research strategy that garners appropriate and applicable data. Contact us to learn how our expertise can help you improve your ROI!