Explaining Both Research Methods and Their Differences

Fundamental Research

Fundamental research, also known as basic research or pure research does not usually generate findings that have immediate applications in a practical level.

Fundamental research is driven by curiosity and the desire to expand knowledge in specific research area. This type of research makes a specific contribution to the academic body of knowledge in the research area.

Fundamental studies tend to make generalizations about the phenomenon, and the philosophy of this type of studies can be explained as ‘gathering knowledge for the sake of knowledge’.

Fundamental researches mainly aim to answer the questions of why, what or how and they tend to contribute the pool of fundamental knowledge in the research area.

Applied Research

Applied research aims at finding a solution for an immediate problem facing a society, or an industrial/business organisation.

Applied research is considered to be non-systematic inquiry and it is usually launched by a company, agency or an individual in order to address a specific problem.

Differences Between Applied and Fundamental Research

Fundamental research studies individual cases without generalizing, and recognizes that other variables are in constant change.

Applied research, on the contrary, seeks generalizations and assumes that other variables do not change.


Fundamental ResearchApplied Research
Fundamental Research:Expand knowledge of processes of business and management.
Applied Research:Improve understanding of particular business or management problem.
Fundamental Research:Results in universal principles relating to the process and its relationship to outcomes.
Applied Research:Results in solution to problem. New knowledge limited to problem.
Fundamental Research:Findings of significance and value to society in general.
Applied Research:Findings of practical relevance and value to manager(s) in organization(s).


Fundamental ResearchApplied Research
Fundamental Research:Undertaken by people based in universities.
Applied Research:Undertaken by people based in a variety of settings including organizations and universities.
Fundamental Research:Choice of topic and objectives determined by the researcher.
Applied Research:Objectives negotiated with originator.
Fundamental Research:Flexible time scales.
Applied Research:Tight time scales.