Different types of research let marketers, researchers, and businesses gather data and associated information from all involved parties. This helps them find solutions, answer questions, and gain a better understanding of their target market segment. Research methods are used in many different fields to help make decisions, such as in scientific discoveries and business investments.
Research is utilized by individuals and businesses to accumulate and evaluate data for significant decision-making purposes. This incorporates developing marketing strategies, recruiting staff, extending operations, and examining vital information like environmental effects, healthcare, and societal traits.
What are the Types of Research?
Research types are various methodologies that researchers use to conduct studies. Depending on your objectives, timelines, and intentions, particular types may be more appropriate for certain research.
- To start the research design process, it is essential to ask relevant questions and select a suitable method for exploring the issue.
- Both scientific and nonscientific fields highly value research.
- Research methods are categorized based on various factors like the general category, nature, purpose, and design of the study.
To begin, clarify what you wish to study and your objectives. For instance, if you want to know the opinions of consumers towards a certain product, you would use qualitative research, but if you wanted to know how many people purchased the product, you would use quantitative research.
Let’s now delve into different types of research design and understand their features, examples, and best usages –
20 Types of Research
Different types of research methods that you can use are –
1) Fundamental research method
Fundamental research, which is also called basic or theoretical research, aims to deepen researchers’ understanding of particular phenomena in the world. Its goal is to explore how things work, rather than to discover ways to improve their functioning. This type of research aims to expand scientific theories and explanations and enhance your knowledge of the subject. Primary research methods, as well as secondary research methods, are some of the ways fundamental research design works. In the primary research, the data collected by researchers involve fresh data collection while in secondary research, existing data is used for solving any fresh research problem.
Example – The fundamental research project conducted by Stephen Hawking to understand the mysteries of the universe.
2) Applied research design
Applied research aims to find solutions to particular problems or provide answers to specific questions. Its findings are practical and can be put into action. Such types of research are of two types – technological, and scientific.
Example – The development of a new medical treatment or the implementation of a machine learning system.
3) Action research
Action research involves analyzing the impact of actions taken toward achieving a particular outcome and using the findings to decide on the next step to take. This tool is commonly used in the field of education by teachers and principals to evaluate themselves and make necessary adjustments.
Example – A school principal introducing a new reading program and then evaluating its impact on student performance.
4) Qualitative research methodology
Qualitative methods refer to gathering data that is not in numerical form, such as opinions and literature. The approach involves using descriptions to capture the meanings and feelings associated with a given situation. Businesses commonly use this type of research to gain insight into consumer opinions and reactions. Different types of qualitative research are surveys, focus groups, participant comments, interviews, observations, etc.
Example – Interviewing potential customers to better understand their attitudes and opinions towards a certain product or service.
5) Quantitative research methodology
Quantitative methods involve using numerical data like statistics and measurements to examine particular questions, such as what, who, where, when, etc. The outcomes are commonly displayed in tables or graphs. A few types of quantitative analysis are survey research, descriptive research, and correlational research. Quantitative and qualitative methods are two of the most common types of research design examples. Let’s understand quantitative methods with an example –
Example – Examining the correlations between certain demographic factors and eating habits by surveying college students.
6) Experimental Research
Experimental research involves investigating the connection between at least two variables – one is an independent variable and another one is the dependent variable. The study typically involves dividing participants into two groups: the control group and the experimental group. Next, specific variables are altered, and the resulting impact on the participants is recorded.
Example – Testing the impact of a new diet on weight loss by dividing participants into two groups: one group follows the new diet while the other group continues with their regular diet.
7) Causal research
Causal research, which is also known as explanatory research, aims to establish relationships of cause and effect between variables. Its goal is to determine how much of an impact one variable has on changes in the other. Conducting causal research is crucial in evaluating existing procedures and processes and figuring out whether and how modifications should be made.
Example – Exploring the effects of sleep deprivation on an individual’s cognitive performance.
8) Comparative research
Comparative research is a method that helps identify similarities and differences between two individuals, subjects, or groups.
Example – Comparing how different brands of coffee are perceived by consumers.
9) Classification research
The purpose of classification research is to categorize and group individual elements within a larger group or into subgroups.
Example – Sorting data into different demographic groups to better understand consumer buying behavior.
10) Cross-sectional research
Synchronous research, also known as cross-sectional research, analyzes a specific group or subgroup at a single moment in time. Researchers typically select participants who share specific characteristics, such as age, gender, or income. They then analyze the similarities and differences within and between groups. These groups are often viewed as a sample of a larger population.
Example – Examining online shopping patterns among different age groups.
11) Exploratory research
Exploratory research aims to investigate a topic by reviewing the existing knowledge and identifying any relevant additional information. Exploratory research is typically conducted to provide a preliminary understanding of a subject before further research is conducted, rather than answering a specific question. It is commonly used for less-known topics or phenomena.
Example – Investigating the connection between noise pollution and mental health.
12) Deductive research
Deductive research, also referred to as theory-testing research, has a distinct approach from inductive research. The researcher chooses a hypothesis and then verifies its accuracy through experimentation or observation, progressing from the overall concept to the specific details.
Example – Hypothesizing that a new exercise program will improve an individual’s physical health and then conducting a study to test the hypothesis.
13) Field research
Field research is conducted where the participants or subjects are present, also known as “on location.” It involves gathering data and making observations on-site.
Example – Observing people’s behavior in a shopping mall to assess consumer attitudes.
14) Inductive research
Inductive research, which is also referred to as theory-building research, aims to gather data that could be used to create a new theory about a process or phenomenon. This type of research analyzes observations and patterns and provides multiple hypotheses to explain these patterns. Inductive research is usually the initial phase of developing a theory and can result in further research, like deductive research, to examine potential hypotheses.
Example – Investigating the relationships between different variables to identify trends and patterns that could explain or predict a certain phenomenon.
15) Fixed research
Fixed research involves procedures determined ahead of time, such as how often testing will take place, where it will take place, the number of subjects, and their types. For the research to be accurate, it requires specific conditions and following pre-established protocols to minimize variables. Experimental studies typically involve controlled research.
Example – Testing the effectiveness of different sleep schedules on academic performance in a laboratory setting to create a consistent environment.
16) Flexible research
During the experiment, procedures can be changed with flexible research. It is of different types like case studies, ethnographic studies, and grounded theory studies. Flexible research is often used in qualitative studies, and its goal is to dig deeper into the issue or phenomenon.
Example – Conduct a case study on a family who is facing financial difficulties. This should involve making observations, conducting interviews with family members, and using surveys as part of the research process.
17) Laboratory research
Laboratory research refers to conducting experiments in a controlled environment rather than in a natural setting. This type of research typically requires following specific conditions, such as excluding variables or timing conditions precisely. Some instances of laboratory research include chemical experiments and studies on pharmaceuticals.
Example – Testing the effects of a certain drug on rats in a laboratory setting to minimize variables and control the environment.
18) Longitudinal research design
Longitudinal research is a type of research that examines how certain measurements change over time. This type of research does not involve manipulating any determining variables. Some of the types of longitudinal research include trend study, cohort study, and panel study.
Example – Examining how people’s attitudes towards a certain issue change over time by tracking the same individuals throughout a specific period.
19) Mixed research design
Mixed research involves gathering qualitative and quantitative data, and presenting the outcomes through a combination of words, images, and graphs.
Example – Examining a certain phenomenon by conducting multiple interviews and surveys, as well as compiling statistical data.
20) Policy Research design
Policy research analyzes how current or proposed government or social policies may impact the allocation of resources. Government agencies frequently employ policy researchers who specialize in conducting various types of studies, including cost analysis, program evaluation, cost-benefit analysis, needs analysis, etc.
Example – Investigating the effects of proposed tax changes on small businesses to provide policy recommendations.
Why is research important in business?
The role of business research varies based on its purpose and intended outcome. Conducting research can provide benefits such as –
- Identifying both potential customers and new customers.
- Ensuring that you can comprehend your existing as well as potential customers.
- Setting achievable objectives.
- Creating effective plans to market the product.
- Providing solutions for business challenges.
- Developing a plan for expanding a business.
- Identifying potential business opportunities.
Tips for Choosing the Right Types of Research Methodology
Consider the following tips when deciding which type of research to use for your topic. These tips can assist you in making a prudent decision –
- Clear objective – To conduct effective research, it is important to have a clear and specific research question that is relevant and valuable. This will enable an unbiased and impartial analysis of the issue at hand.
- Proper representation – To ensure accurate research findings, it is important to use reliable information. This can be achieved by designing surveys and questionnaires that are inclusive and represent all relevant variables, including the number, type, and characteristics of subjects.
- Time availability – Ensure that you allocate sufficient time to study the matter, gather information, and assess your discoveries.
- Budget – Create a budget that covers all the necessary costs for conducting research and analyzing data, keeping it real.
To sum up, researchers can choose from various research methods based on their study goals and information requirements for any given topic.
When conducting research, it’s crucial to consider the ethical implications regardless of the research type you select.
To get reliable and accurate results, it’s important to be consistent and thorough in your approach even if you’re using different methods.
Alternatively, check out the Marketing91 Academy, which provides you access to 10+ marketing courses and 100s of Case studies.