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Research Types (info updated from NSF Expenditure Survey FY2016)

Definitions per NSF Expenditure Survey FY 2016 (web page info updated 7/18/2017)

 

Basic Research

Experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.

 

Applied Research

Original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge. It is directed primarily towards a specific, practical aim or objective

 

Development

Systematic work, drawing on knowledge gained from research and practical experience and producing additional knowledge, which is directed to producing new products or processes or to improving existing products or processes

 

Examples
Basic Research Applied Research Development
A researcher is studying the properties of human blood to determine what affects coagulation. A researcher is conducting research on how a new chicken pox vaccine affects blood coagulation. A researcher is conducting clinical trials to test a newly developed chicken pox vaccine for young children.
A researcher is studying the properties of molecules under various heat and cold conditions. A researcher is investigating the properties of particular substances under various heat and cold conditions with the objective of finding longer-lasting components for highway pavement. A researcher is working with state transportation officials to conduct tests of a newly developed highway pavement under various types of heat and cold conditions.
A researcher is investigating the effect of different types of manipulatives on the way first graders learn mathematical strategy by changing manipulatives and then measuring what students have learned through standardized instruments A researcher is studying the implementation of a specific math curriculum to determine what teachers need to know to implement the curriculum successfully A researcher is developing and testing software and support tools, based on fiieldwork, to improve mathematics congtion for student special education.