Research should always start with a definite objective to help determine the methods or processes to be employed. Researchers may prefer to undertake applied research or basic research, depending on the objective. Applied research provides answers to specific questions that offer solutions to a defined problem. It differs from other research methods and is frequently used in various business settings.
Understanding applied research
Any research that tries to provide solutions to a specific problem affecting society, a group, or an individual is known as applied research. Applied research is also known as contractual research or scientific inquiry method because it utilizes scientific methods to find answers to everyday problems. Researchers conducting applied research take the time to carefully identify a problem, create a research hypothesis, and test it through experiment. Applied research may also use empirical methods to find solutions to practical issues. It is often thought of as a non-systematic inquiry due to its direct approach to finding solutions to a problem.
Types of applied research
There are three types of applied research, as discussed below:
- Evaluation research
Evaluation research analyzes information on a subject. Evaluation research is applied mainly in the business context because this type of research can be used to find ways to cut down or reduce overhead costs.
- Research and development
The main aim of research and development is to develop new services, goods, or products based on the needs of the target market. This type of research will collect information related to the changing needs of target customers, evolving marketing trends, and the suitability of the current products. This information is used to find ways to improve existing services and products to meet the changing needs of target customers.
- Action research
Action research focuses on finding practical solutions to problems faced by businesses. The research provides information that can point businesses in the right direction but is limited to situations faced by businesses on a daily basis.
How businesses use applied researchers
Given how pervasive applied research can be, pursuing a career in the field is a very prudent investment. The best first step you can take is enrolling in a dba online program from Aston University. This teaches leaders how to design and implement research to make an impact and solve complex problems for businesses. Applied research is used by organizations in many different ways, as discussed below.
- To improve production
Applied research can be used by manufacturing companies to meet the growing demand by increasing manufacturing rates. It can help companies determine which processes are taking up the most time, assess employee productivity, and provide solutions to increase output. Applied research can help businesses find alternate strategies that can be used to reduce production time and increase output.
- To increase customer satisfaction
Applied research can also be used to increase customer satisfaction leading to increased referrals and recurrence. This type of research can help companies discover important information about average purchase orders, return rates, and more. Researchers can determine which products deliver the best satisfaction to clients so they can prioritize marketing for those products.
- To enhance employee skills
When employees are encouraged to improve their skills, they advance their careers and are more willing to take on more responsibilities. This also benefits businesses because trained employees are more productive and effective. Through applied research, companies can identify areas where their employees are struggling and where they are performing well. This allows organizations to create targeted training programs to help employees gain new skills. Companies can also determine which skills are lacking in their employees and hire suitable talent to fill those gaps.
- To create better products
Companies spend a lot of time and resources creating better products to increase customer satisfaction and profitability. Applied research can be used to help businesses develop new products and make the development process more efficient. Product designers can create several prototypes with which researchers can conduct comparative testing. This process allows them to find a prototype that is the most efficient. Applied research can help companies design products that offer the best balance between performance and cost. Marketing professionals can also use applied research for focus group testing where the prototypes are introduced to a group of people who are then asked for their opinions. This helps researchers gain valuable feedback from prospective buyers. Researchers can help companies create products that are the most appealing to customers.
Benefits of applied research
There are many benefits to utilizing applied research for businesses in every industry. It can be a crucial technique for collecting useful data that can be used to enhance the performance of the organization. Some of the most compelling benefits to utilizing applied research techniques are discussed below.
- Better clarity
One of the main benefits of using applied research is that it gives managers and decision-makers clarity. With applied research, you will be able to fully understand the questions you are trying to answer as well as the purpose of the research. This understanding eliminates confusion for everyone on the team and allows extensive customization. When everyone is aware of the objectives, it becomes easier to determine which information you should focus on.
- Increased effectiveness
Applied research can help organizations be more effective by focusing on data collection and research. When researchers concentrate on components that are relevant to the subject, efficiency is increased. Researchers can save a lot of time when their focus is only directed towards the relevant information and the irrelevant information discarded. This contributes directly to the profitability of the business.
- Broad applicability
Applied research offers a structure and methodology for conducting research. It does not offer any rules or regulations that may restrict the application of the research. Applied research can be used in many industries in a variety of roles and sectors. It is a versatile research methodology and learning how to perform this research can be a versatile skill that is applicable to any other field leaving you with the possibility of changing industries in the future.