Why Do We Conduct Research?

Thomas Barwick/Stone/Getty Images

Research is conducted to prove or disprove a hypothesis or to learn new facts about something. There are many different reasons for conducting research. For example, academic research is usually conducted to prove or disprove a theory while medical research is conducted to advance knowledge of medical conditions and create treatments. Ultimately, research is conducted to gain a better understanding of something or someone or to provide a solution to a problem.

There are four general kinds of research: descriptive research, exploratory research, explanatory research and evaluation research. Descriptive research is used when a researcher analyzes a social phenomenon. With this type of research, the focus is limited to providing information about a subject. Exploratory research is very similar to descriptive research; however, exploratory research investigates certain aspects of a subject, such as how the media affects a certain social group.

Explanatory research asks questions about a subject, such as why certain groups are affected by the media. This research typically includes the analysis of a problem and concludes with a solution. Evaluation research is most often used to gather information that is used to create effective social policies. Most research includes two or more kinds of research. For example, a single study is likely to describe a subject, explore an aspect of the subject and explain something about the subject.