Academic and applied approaches to research

Published: 2020-08-01 00:20:03
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Before understanding the different approaches that researchers will take with regard to the two scenarios, it is important to discuss the main differences that the academic or scientific” approach and the applied research approach have with respect to their emphasis.  Basically, a scientific researcher bases his or her findings on gathering observable, empirical, measurable evidence, subject to specific principles of reasoning while an applied researcher would look at the practical aspect of the problem (Ziman 2000, Barrow 1991).
With this in mind, it can be said that a scientific researcher basically tries to understand the phenomenon which exists in nature that the experiment of scientific process attempts to explain (Bacon 1620).  On the other hand, an applied researcher takes a more practical stand and approaches the problem from a different perspective, attempting to explore the other social and practical aspects that may explain such an occurrence (if that is what is being verified) and how such an occurrence can be applied to other scenarios (Baxter 2002).
The difference between the two approaches can be better appreciated when their approaches to certain scenarios are compared.  For example, with respect to the visits that international tourists may make as compared with domestic tourists, the scientific approach would try to approach the problem by first observing the phenomenon, which is the first step in the scientific method (Desrosières 2004, Latour 1987), and then this is followed by the formulation of the hypothesis to be tested (Desrosières 2004).
The basic scientific question for this problem would be to examine the travel trends of people during certain times of the year depending on probably migratory patterns.  Alternatively, the scientific inquiry could make a comparison between the socio-economic development of international communities and domestic communities.
These queries can of course be answered by following the scientific method of conducting research which is through defining the question, gathering information and resources, formation of a hypothesis, performing an experiment and collecting data, analyzing such data, interpreting data and drawing conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypotheses and finally publishing the results of the research (Shimony 1993).
The applied researcher would approach the problem differently in this scenario.  A perfect example would be a market researcher who would try to figure out first the relevance of conducting such a study, which in this case would be to determine how to increase the domestic market visits to increase profits (Cole 1986).  An applied researcher would then have to conduct surveys and studies with respect to the prices and the rides that are offered on the theme park and also try to show the impact that the local marketing strategies have had on domestic visitors.
In the voting poll scenario, the scientific approach will try to determine the tendencies of people to vote for candidates who share similar physical characteristics or similar backgrounds as theirs.  This genuine scientific inquiry into the psyche of the voting public is quite different from the approach of an applied researcher such as an opinion pollster who would be interested in the end result of who has the greatest chance of winning at the election (Latour 1987).
The scientific inquiry focuses on the natural phenomenon of the scenario such as behavior of the voters or the motivation to vote on a weekend such as a Saturday while the applied researcher will try to examine the trends and general sentiment of a majority or sample of the voting public with respect to the policy considerations of the candidates and previous office term of political experience (Shimony 1993).
As is clearly seen in these two scenarios, not only are the two approaches entirely different in their methods but the motivations or purposes of the studies that will be conducted regarding the same subject matter will also be different.  The scientific method basically concerns itself with the natural phenomenon of the study and the applied method focuses on the practical side.  This is not to say however that these two methods are mutually exclusive to each other.  The successful application or utilization of both these methods is quite possible and highly recommended since the backbone of any successful applied research is a solid basic or scientific research model or finding (Ziman 2000).

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