Business Research Methods | Introduction 1

Meaning and Definition

Generally, research refers to searching again but it does not cover the entire scope of research. Research is considered for two purposes; one is to enhance the scope of knowledge or to develop or update the new theory in the concerned field and the second is for identifying the problem and searching for the solution to such issues.

Thus, research refers to the process of systematic inquiry or investigation into a specific problem or issue that leads to new or improved knowledge for solving the problem.

The words of D. Slesinger and M. Stephenson in the Encyclopedia of social science define research as, “the manipulation of things, concepts or symbols to generalize, extend, correct or verify knowledge whether that knowledge aids in the construction of theory or in the practice of an art.”

According to F. N. Kerlinger, “research is a systematic, controlled, empirical and critical investigation of hypothetical propositions about the presumed relations among natural phenomena.”

According to Advanced Learners Dictionary, research is defined as, “a careful investigation or inquiry, especially through research for new facts in any branch of knowledge.”

According to D. K. Bhattacharya, research may be defined as “a documented and organized analysis of the subject based on borrowed materials with suitable acknowledgment and consultation is the main body of the paper.”


Nature and Features of Research

The research undertakes a depth study of any issues or subjects which help to enhance the existing knowledge or solve any specific problem of an organization.

The nature and features of the research are as follows:

  • Objective: Good research should be objective and it must answer the research questions. Research should leave no doubt about its purpose and vision for initiation.
  • Control: Good research should control all the variables used for research purposes. The research process and designs should define the clear use and purposes of all variables.
  • Generalizability: Researchers should be able to achieve similar results by using the same methodology and designs so that their results could be applied to another similar situation.
  • Free from personal biases: Research should not be conducted on the researcher’s subjective perception or with any kind of biasness. It should be fair and must follow all the practices of the sound objective of the research.
  • Systematic: A good research study should follow various well-structured steps, and all steps must be interrelated and also needs to be in chronological order.
  • Solves a problem: Research identifies the problem and tries to solve such problems with all possible alternatives. So, the researcher should focus on the problem-solving approach that also helps in theory development too.
  • Logical: The researcher collects the data and information from various sources and interprets it with the use of various logic. Eg., inductive and deductive reasoning.
  • Replicable: Conducting research in the same subject and fields more than one time, helps to increase the reliability and validity of research results. Thus conducting research using the same methodology, again and again, is called replicability.


Types of Research

Research is broadly classified into two categories:

  • Basic or Fundamental Research
  • Applied or Action Research


Basic or Fundamental Research

Research that is conducted to access the depth of knowledge about any issue or for the development of a new theory is called basic or fundamental research.

The main goal of this research is not to apply the findings to solving an immediate problem but to understand more about specific issues or phenomena that take place in organizations or industries or businesses.

According to P. V. Young, “gathering knowledge for knowledge’s sake is termed as pure or basic research.”

According to D. B. Bhattacharya, “a research that is primarily interested to find out certain basic principles not the solution of the problem is basic research.”

Conclusions of basic or fundamental research:

  • Develops fundamental principles and theories.
  • Enhanced knowledge and branch of knowledge.
  • Its principles and theories can be generalized.
  • Helps to understand problems and situations in depth.


Applied or Action Research

Research that is conducted to find out a solution for immediate problems faced by society or business organizations is known as applied or action research.

The main goal of applied research is to identify the actual problems and find out the most practicable solutions for those problems.

According to P. V. Young, “generating knowledge that could aid in the betterment of human benefit is termed as applied research.”

According to D. B. Bhattacharya, “a research method that is used in social science research which helps to contradict, alter or modify any existing theory or theories and helps to formulate policy is applied research.”

Conclusions of applied or action research:

  • It is related to identifying and solving real-life problems.
  • Its solutions and results can be applied immediately to the situations.
  • This research aid in verifying concepts and theories.
  • Applied research helps to formulate new policies, and programs as well as improve previous procedures and practices.


Difference between Basic and Applied Research


  • The main objective of basic research is to develop theory and enhance existing knowledge.
  • The main aim of applied research is to identify the immediate problems faced by the concerned organizations and find out the best solution.


  • In basic research, the researcher undertakes research on those issues where he/she has interest and knowledge.
  • In applied research, researchers should conduct research focusing on the problem faced by society, organizations, or businesses.

Time limit:

  • There is no time limit in basic research.
  • Fixed and limited time is given to the researcher in applied research.


  • The results of basic research can be generalized in all similar nature of situations or organizations.
  • Applied research focuses on particular and specified problems, so generalization is not possible and necessary.


  • Principles and theories developed through basic research cannot be implemented immediately in practice.
  • The findings of the applied research can be implemented immediately in real life or practice.


  • Generally, basic research is based on technical analysis.
  • Applied research is based on individual and situation analysis.


  • Generally, it is assumed that variables used in basic research are constant.
  • It is assumed that variables used in applied research are to some extent dynamic and changeable.


Adhikari, D. R., & Pandey, D. L. (2016). Essentials of Business Research Methods (2016 ed.). Asmita Books Publishers & Distributors (P) Ltd.

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Founder and Author at Superb Future. Babu is a student of Business specializing in Sales and Marketing Management. "Everyone is a marketer, whether you are a businessman or a homemaker."


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