The 15 types of research (and features)

Throughout history, science has done impressive things that have improved our understanding of the universe and the standard of living and well-being that we can achieve.

However, the milestones achieved did not come out of nowhere. They took years of research in very different areas, and there are many ways to search, which can be organized by different criteria. In this article you can find 15 types of research and their basic characteristics.


    Research means taking different actions or strategies in order to find something. Thus, these acts are addressed to acquire and apply new knowledge, Explain a certain reality or find ways to resolve questions and situations that interest you. Research is the basis of scientific knowledge, although not all research is scientific in itself.

    For knowledge to be scientific the research carried out must be carried out in a systematic way, with clear objectives and some aspects that can be verified and replicated. The results obtained must be analyzed objectively and taking into account the various variables that may affect the phenomenon studied.

    As we have said, it can be studied from very different angles, with different purposes or taking into account different types of data, procedures or methods to obtain them. Here are some of these types of research.

      Type of research according to its objective

      There are two types of searches that can be found depending on the purpose for which they are carried out.

      1. Pure or theoretical research

      The main objective of this type of research is the acquisition of knowledge of a different nature, regardless of the applicability of the knowledge obtained. Thanks to the body of knowledge that is extracted from it, they may or may not establish other types of research.

      For example, for pure mathematics research, it is normal not to worry about how easily the conclusions obtained can be applied.

      2. Applied research

      This is a type of research focused on find mechanisms or strategies to achieve a specific goal, How to cure a disease or get an article or this can be useful. Therefore, the type of scope to which it applies is very specific and well demarcated, as it is not about explaining a wide variety of situations, but rather trying to answer a specific problem.

      Depending on the depth level of the object of study

      Research can be done in a number of ways and look more or less at how they are or why things are happening. In this sense, we find the following types of research.

      3. Exploratory research

      This type of research focuses on the analysis and study of specific aspects of reality that have not yet been analyzed in depth. fundamentally it’s an exploration or a first approach which allows subsequent research to lead to an analysis of the subject treated.

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

      4. Description

      The purpose of this type of research is only establish as complete a description as possible of a phenomenon, Situation or concrete element, without seeking either causes or consequences thereof. It measures the characteristics and observes the configuration and the processes that make up the phenomena, without stopping to evaluate them.

      Thus, in many cases, this type of research does not even question the causality of the phenomena (ie the “why what is observed is happening”). It is simply a question of obtaining an illuminating picture of the state of the situation.

      5. Explanatory

      This is one of the most common types of research and one on which science is focused. This is the type of research that is used to attempt to determine the causes and consequences of a particular phenomenon. He’s looking not only for what but why things, and how they got to the state in question.

      For this, different methods can be used, such as the observational, correlational or experimental method. The goal is to create explanatory models in which cause and effect sequences can be observed, although these do not necessarily have to be linear (these are usually very complex causal mechanisms, with many variables at play. ).

      Depending on the type of data used

      Another way to categorize the different types of research is by 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 obtain data that is in principle not quantifiable, Based on observation. Although they offer a lot of information, the data obtained are subjective and uncontrollable and do not allow a clear explanation of the phenomena. It focuses on the descriptive aspects.

      Nevertheless, the data obtained from these investigations can be operated a posteriori to be able to be analyzed, causing that the explanation on the studied phenomenon is more complete.

      7. Quantitative

      Quantitative research is based on the study and analysis of reality through different measurement-based procedures. It allows a higher level of control and inference than other types of research, being possible to perform experiments and obtain contrasting explanations from hypotheses. The results of this research are based on statistics and are generalizable.

      Depending on the degree of manipulation of the variables

      We can find different types of research depending on whether the data obtained is based on a more or less level of manipulation of the variables.

      8. Experimental research

      This type of research is based on the manipulation of variables under highly controlled conditions, Reproduce a specific phenomenon and observe to what extent the variable (s) involved and manipulated produce a given effect. The data is obtained from random samples, so it is assumed that the sample from which it is obtained is representative of reality. It makes it possible to establish different hypotheses and to oppose them through a scientific method.

      9. Quasi-experimental

      Quasi-experimental research is similar to experimental research in that it seeks to manipulate one or more specific variables, except that there is no full control over all variables, such as aspects related to the type of sample presented in the experiment.

      10. In experimentation

      This type of research it is mainly based on observation. In this document, the various variables that are part of a given situation or event are not controlled.

      According to the type of inference

      Another type of classification can be extracted from the method used to deduce the functioning of reality.

      11. By deductive method

      This type of research is based on the study of reality and reality search for verification or falsification of certain base premises check. According to the general law, it is considered that this will happen in a particular situation.

      12. Inductive method

      Research carried out by the inductive method is based on obtaining conclusions from the observation of facts. Observation and analysis, however, allow more or less true conclusions to be drawn. it does not allow generalizations to be made or predictions.

      13. From the hypothetico-deductive method

      This type of research is what is considered to be truly scientific. It is based on the generation of hypotheses from facts observed by induction, hypotheses which generate theories which in turn dthey must be verified and falsified by experimentation.

      Depending on the period during which it is carried out

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

      14. Longitudinal

      Longitudinal research is a type of research that is characterized by following the same topics or processes over a fixed period. It makes it possible to see the evolution of the characteristics and variables observed.

      15. Transversal

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

      Bibliographical references:

      • Hernández, R., Fernández, C., and Baptista, MP (2010) Research Methodology (5th ed.). Mexico: McGraw Hill Education.
      • Pagà, RR (2000). Statistics for behavioral sciences. Madrid: International Thompson.
      • Sánchez Carrión, JJ (1995). Manual of data analysis. Madrid: Alliance.

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