yes, therapy helps!
The 15 types of research (and characteristics)

The 15 types of research (and characteristics)

October 1, 2022

Throughout history, science has achieved impressive things that have improved our understanding of the universe and the level of life and well-being that we can achieve.

However, the milestones achieved have not appeared out of nowhere. They have required years of research in very different fields, and there are a lot of ways to investigate, which can be organized according to different criteria. In this article you can find 15 types of research and their basic characteristics .

  • Maybe you're interested: "Karl Popper's philosophy and psychological theories"

The investigation

To investigate means to carry out different actions or strategies in order to discover something. Thus, said acts are directed to obtain and apply new knowledge , explain a certain reality or obtain ways to resolve issues and situations of interest. Research is the basis of scientific knowledge, although not all research is scientific in itself.


For a knowledge to be scientific It is necessary that the research carried out be done systematically, with clear objectives and part of aspects that can be tested and replicated. The results obtained must be analyzed objectively and taking into account the various variables that may be affecting the phenomenon studied.

As we have said, you can investigate from very different perspectives, with different objectives or taking into account different types of data, procedures or methods to obtain them. Here we present some of these types of research.

  • Maybe you're interested: "Types of psychological tests: their functions and characteristics"

Types of research according to the purpose of this

We can find two types of research based on the purpose with which they are carried out.


1. Pure or theoretical research

This type of research has as main objective the obtaining of knowledge of different nature, without taking into account the applicability of the knowledge obtained . Thanks to the body of knowledge extracted from it, other types of research can be established, or not.

For example, research in pure mathematics, it is normal not to worry about the ease with which the conclusions obtained can be applied.

2. Applied research

It is a type of research focused on find mechanisms or strategies to achieve a specific objective , how to cure a disease or get an item or something that can be useful. Therefore, the type of field to which it is applied is very specific and well delimited, since it is not a matter of explaining a wide variety of situations, but rather an attempt to address a specific problem.


According to the level of deepening in the object of study

The research can be carried out in different ways and deepening more or less in how they are or why things. In this sense we find the following types of research.

3. Exploratory research

This type of research focuses on analyzing and investigating concrete aspects of reality that have not yet been analyzed in depth. Basically it is an exploration or first approach that allows that later investigations can be directed to an analysis of the treated subject.

Due to its characteristics, this type of research does not start from very detailed theories, but rather seeks to find meaningful patterns in the data that must be analyzed in order to create, from these results, the first complete explanations of what is happening.

4. Descriptive

The objective of this type of research is solely establish a description as complete as possible of a phenomenon , situation or concrete element, without looking for causes or consequences of it. It measures the characteristics and observes the configuration and the processes that compose the phenomena, without stopping to value them.

So, in many cases this type of research is not even asked about the causality of the phenomena (ie, why "what happens is observed"). Simply, it is about obtaining an enlightening image of the state of the situation.

5. Explanatory

It is one of the most frequent types of research on which science is centered. It is the type of research that is used in order to try to determine the causes and consequences of a particular phenomenon. Not only what is sought but also why of things, and how they have arrived at the state in question.

For this, different methods can be used, such as the observational, correlational or experimental method.The objective is to create explanatory models in which cause-effect sequences can be observed, although these do not have to be linear (normally, they are very complex mechanisms of causality, with many variables in play).

According to the type of data used

Another way to classify different types of research is according to the type of data they collect. In this sense we can find the following types.

6. Qualitative

Qualitative research is understood as that which is based on the Obtaining data that are not quantifiable in principle , based on observation. Although it offers a lot of information, the data obtained are subjective and not very controllable and do not allow a clear explanation of the phenomena. It focuses on descriptive aspects.

However, the data obtained from these investigations can be operationalized a posteriori in order to be analyzed, making the explanation about the phenomenon studied more complete.

7. Quantitative

Quantitative research is based on the study and analysis of reality through different procedures based on measurement . It allows a greater level of control and inference than other types of research, being possible to carry out experiments and obtain contrasted explanations from hypotheses. The results of these investigations are based on statistics and are generalizable.

According to the degree of manipulation of the variables

We can find different types of investigations according to whether the data obtained start from a higher or lower level of manipulation of variables.

8. Experimental research

This type of research is based on the manipulation of variables in highly controlled conditions , replicating a specific phenomenon and observing the degree to which the variable (s) involved and manipulated produce a certain effect. The data are obtained from randomized samples, so that it is assumed that the sample from which they are obtained is representative of reality. It allows to establish different hypotheses and contrast them through a scientific method.

9. Quasi-experimental

Quasi-experimental research is similar to experimental research in that it is intended to manipulate one or more specific variables, with the difference that total control over all variables is not available, for example aspects linked to the type of sample presented to the experiment .

10. Not experimental

This type of research is based fundamentally on observation . In it the different variables that are part of a specific situation or event are not controlled.

According to the type of inference

Another type of classification can be extracted from the method used when inferring how reality works.

11. Deductive method

This type of research is based on the study of reality and the search for verification or falsification of some basic premises To check. From the general law it is considered that it will occur in a particular situation.

12. Inductive method

The investigation carried out according to the inductive method is based on obtaining conclusions from the observation of facts. Observation and analysis allow us to draw more or less true conclusions, but does not allow to establish generalizations or predictions.

13. Of hypothetical-deductive method

This type of research is what is considered truly scientific. It is based on the generation of hypotheses based on facts observed through induction, hypotheses that generate theories that in turnThey will have to be checked and falsified by experimentation .

According to the temporary period in which it is carried out

Depending on the type of monitoring of the variables that are carried out, we can find two types of research.

14. Longitudinal

Longitudinal research is a type of research that is characterized by tracking the same subjects or processes over a specific period . It allows to see the evolution of the observed characteristics and variables.

15. Transverse

These types of research focus on the comparison of certain characteristics or situations in different subjects at a specific time, all subjects sharing the same temporality.

Bibliographic references:

  • Hernández, R., Fernández, C., and Baptista, M.P. (2010) Research Methodology (5th Ed.). Mexico: McGraw Hill Education.
  • Pagano, R. R. (2000). Statistics for the behavioral sciences. Madrid: International Thompson.
  • Sánchez Carrión, J.J. (nineteen ninety five). Manual of data analysis. Madrid: Alliance.

Types of research (अनुसन्धान के प्रकार) (October 2022).


Similar Articles