Research Aptitude Free Study Material (UGC NET Updated Notes 2020)


To discover answers to questions through the application of scientific procedures, it’s main aim is to find out the truth which is hidden and which has not been discovered as yet. Though each research study has its own specific purpose, we may think of research objectives as falling into a number of following broad groupings:

  1. To gain familiarity with a phenomenon or to achieve new insights into it. (Exploratory or formulative research studies).
  2. To portray accurately the characteristics of a particular individual, situation or a group. (Descriptive research studies).
  3. To determine the frequency with which something occurs or with which it is associated with something else. (Diagnostic research studies).
  4. To test a hypothesis of a causal relationship between variables (hypothesis-testing research studies).


Types of Research

a) Fundamental Research/Pure Research/Basic Research:

  • It is undertaken for the sake of knowledge without any intension to apply it in practice.
  • This research helps in developing theories by discovering broad generalisation and principles.
  • It is organised through different procedures of research like sampling, hypothesizing facts, etc. It can be experimented in a psychological laboratory.
  • Research concerning some natural phenomenon or relating to pure mathematics, research studies concerning human behavior carried on with a view to make generalizations about human behaviour are examples of fundamental research.

 b) Applied

  • Aims at finding a solution for an immediate problem facing a society or an industrial/business organization.
  • Solve practical problem of the modern world, rather than to acquire knowledge for knowledge sake.
  • Marketing research is an example of applied research.

 c) Exploratory Research

  • It is a preliminary study of an unfamiliar problem about which researcher has little or no knowledge.
  • The objective of exploratory research is the development of hypothesis rather than their testing.

d) Action Research

  • Its aim is immediate application but not any development of theory.
  • It is research either initiated to solve the immediate problem or if the researcher finds any problem during the course of his field investigation and observation he applies it.

(e) Descriptive study

  • Includes surveys and fact findings enquiries of different kinds.
  • The major purpose of descriptive research is description of the state of affairs, as it exists at present.
  • In social science and business research the term often used is ex-post fact research.
  • The researcher has no control over the variables, he can only report what has happened or what is happening.

(f) Evaluation Study

  • It is a type of applied research.
  • It is made for assessing and taking stock of effectiveness of social or economic programmes.
  • For example : Family planning scheme, Irrigation project.

(g) Diagnostic Study

  • Similar to descriptive study but with a different focus, which is directed towards discovering what is happening? Why is it happening and what can be done about it?
  • It aims at identifying the causes of problems and possible solutions for it.

(h) Quantitative research

  • Quantitative research is based on measurements of quantity or amount.
  • This research is applicable to those phenomenon that can be expressed in quantity.

(i) Qualitative research

  • Qualitative research is concerned with qualitative phenomenon, i.e. relating to or involving quality or kind, as for example, the reasons for human behavior.
  • Techniques of such research are like sentence completion test/story completion test and so on.

(j) Historical research

  • Historical research is the research on past social forces which have shaped the present.
  • For example, to study the present state of Indian labour, we may research on the past historical forces.

(k) Experimental research
Although experimental research is primarily possible in areas of physical sciences, with the help of a hypothesis, it may also be carried out in social sciences if such research enables us to quantify the findings, to apply the statistical and mathematical tools and to measure the results thus quantified.
(l) Action research

  • Action research is the research a person conducts in order to enable him to achieve his purposes more effectively.

(m) Ex-post-facto research

  • Ex-post-facto research is an empirical enquiry for situation that have already occurred.
  • For example , market failure of a product/services if studied or researched later may be categorized as ex-post facto research.

(n) Case-study approach

  • Case study approach is particularly initiated at the micro level.
  • For example, study of a particular company.
  • This research is basically intensive in nature and data compilation requires exhaustive study units with utmost sincerity.

(o) Survey research

  • Survey research, in one way, may be categorized as a separate research method but in other way may be defined as a tool which we follow in carrying our research of any other types already mentioned so far.
  • It involves study of population or sample based on some questionnaire/schedule to find out some intended characteristics.

(p) Conceptual research

  • Conceptual research is related to some abstract ideas or theory generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop new concepts.
  • Conceptual research doesn’t involve conducting any practical experiments. It is related to abstract concepts or ideas.
  • Philosophers have long used conceptual research to develop new theories or interpret existing theories in a different light.
  • The most famous example of a conceptual research is Sir Issac Newton. He observed his surroundings to conceptualize and develop theories about gravitation and motion.

(q) Empirical research

  • Empirical research relies on experiences or observation alone without giving due regards for systems and theory.

(r) Longitudinal research

  • In longitudinal research, the research is carried several times.
  • It is also called panel study.
  • Data is collected about the same sample over a period of time so that poosible relationships among variables can be revealed by examining the changes that take place during that time.
  • In area of marketing, a ‘consumer panel’ is the example of longitudinal study in which the same sample of household is studied for one or more aspects of consumer behavior for a duration of time.
  • It is a type of time series study.

(s) One-time research

  • When research is done for a single time period, it is called as a one-time research.

(t) Field-setting research

  • In this the research is done in the field setting.

(u) Analytical research

  • Analytical research use facts or information already available, and analyze these to make a critical evaluation of the material.
  • It is a specific type of research that involves critical thinking skills and the evaluation of facts and information relative to the research being conducted.

(v) Assessment research

  • It describes a situation that prevails without any suitable explanation and suggestion for any remedial actions.

 (w) Comparative research

  • This form of research is intended for comparative study by collecting data from units under comparison.
  • The major aim of comparative research is to identify similarities and differences between social entities.

(x) Deductive research

  • It is aimed at testing theory. It is a journey from general to specific. Researcher considers an already established theory and tests its implications on a particular sample.
  • It begins with hypothesis
  • It is generally associcated with quantitative research.

(y) Inductive research

  • it is aimed at formulating theories, exploring new phenomenon, or reinterpreting the existing theory from new perspective.
  • It is a journey from specific to general.researchers analyse any specific issue on different sample units, and if there exists a pattern in behviour, it is then generalized.
  • It begins with research questions.
  • It is generally associated with qualitative research.
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