Basic research

Basic research

Utilization of the scientific method to discover knowledge for the pure advancement of understanding with no immediate goals concerning the practical application of information. The driving goal behind basic research is knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Basic research is fundamental in the development and advancement of theories. For example, a basic research question might be “Which neurological processes are involved in the process of forgetting?” While knowledge gained through basic research may provide the foundation for practical, applied investigations, the purpose of basic research is simple discovery.


As opposed to applied research, basic research is conducted with the intent of increasing the scientific knowledge base, and to find theoretical truth and understanding (not specifically to solve practical problems). For example, someone conducting basic research on cheating behavior may design a study examining whether students from divorced families cheat more often than students not from divorced families. Notice that the research is not done to reduce cheating, help people who cheat, or any other “applied” aspect, but to increase the understanding of cheating behavior.

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