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What is the purpose of basic research?

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Quick Answer

The purpose of basic research enhances scientific theories for better understanding. It aims at supporting or rejecting theories that explicate observed phenomena. It advances scientific knowledge that is essential for promoting innovation and supporting economic development.

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Basic research establishes and develops information to predict phenomena and understand nature. It helps generate new theories, ideas and principles that can be used in different fields as well as help establish new approaches or methods that can potentially help solve a problem. Basic research can be descriptive, exploratory or explanatory. The most common is exploratory research, which is research done to provide better understanding of a problem. It does not aim to provide conclusive answers, but to explore the research topic. Exploratory research aids in determining the data collection method, research design and sampling methodology.

Basic research has its drawbacks. For one, it is expensive given that it requires a good number of scientists. Some research projects require sophisticated equipment, which is costly. It is also high-risk as experiments could fail, which means continued funding is required as well as more time. Another disadvantage is the duration of the research project and the funding available. Many organizations that provide funding for research purposes often view short-term funding as unproductive and wasteful.

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