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How to Write a Research Paper | A Beginner's Guide

A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides analysis, interpretation, and argument based on in-depth independent research.

Research papers are similar to academic essays , but they are usually longer and more detailed assignments, designed to assess not only your writing skills but also your skills in scholarly research. Writing a research paper requires you to demonstrate a strong knowledge of your topic, engage with a variety of sources, and make an original contribution to the debate.

This step-by-step guide takes you through the entire writing process, from understanding your assignment to proofreading your final draft.

Table of contents

Understand the assignment, choose a research paper topic, conduct preliminary research, develop a thesis statement, create a research paper outline, write a first draft of the research paper, write the introduction, write a compelling body of text, write the conclusion, the second draft, the revision process, research paper checklist, free lecture slides.

Completing a research paper successfully means accomplishing the specific tasks set out for you. Before you start, make sure you thoroughly understanding the assignment task sheet:

  • Read it carefully, looking for anything confusing you might need to clarify with your professor.
  • Identify the assignment goal, deadline, length specifications, formatting, and submission method.
  • Make a bulleted list of the key points, then go back and cross completed items off as you’re writing.

Carefully consider your timeframe and word limit: be realistic, and plan enough time to research, write, and edit.

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There are many ways to generate an idea for a research paper, from brainstorming with pen and paper to talking it through with a fellow student or professor.

You can try free writing, which involves taking a broad topic and writing continuously for two or three minutes to identify absolutely anything relevant that could be interesting.

You can also gain inspiration from other research. The discussion or recommendations sections of research papers often include ideas for other specific topics that require further examination.

Once you have a broad subject area, narrow it down to choose a topic that interests you, m eets the criteria of your assignment, and i s possible to research. Aim for ideas that are both original and specific:

  • A paper following the chronology of World War II would not be original or specific enough.
  • A paper on the experience of Danish citizens living close to the German border during World War II would be specific and could be original enough.

Note any discussions that seem important to the topic, and try to find an issue that you can focus your paper around. Use a variety of sources , including journals, books, and reliable websites, to ensure you do not miss anything glaring.

Do not only verify the ideas you have in mind, but look for sources that contradict your point of view.

  • Is there anything people seem to overlook in the sources you research?
  • Are there any heated debates you can address?
  • Do you have a unique take on your topic?
  • Have there been some recent developments that build on the extant research?

In this stage, you might find it helpful to formulate some research questions to help guide you. To write research questions, try to finish the following sentence: “I want to know how/what/why…”

A thesis statement is a statement of your central argument — it establishes the purpose and position of your paper. If you started with a research question, the thesis statement should answer it. It should also show what evidence and reasoning you’ll use to support that answer.

The thesis statement should be concise, contentious, and coherent. That means it should briefly summarize your argument in a sentence or two, make a claim that requires further evidence or analysis, and make a coherent point that relates to every part of the paper.

You will probably revise and refine the thesis statement as you do more research, but it can serve as a guide throughout the writing process. Every paragraph should aim to support and develop this central claim.

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basic research article examples

A research paper outline is essentially a list of the key topics, arguments, and evidence you want to include, divided into sections with headings so that you know roughly what the paper will look like before you start writing.

A structure outline can help make the writing process much more efficient, so it’s worth dedicating some time to create one.

Your first draft won’t be perfect — you can polish later on. Your priorities at this stage are as follows:

  • Maintaining forward momentum — write now, perfect later.
  • Paying attention to clear organization and logical ordering of paragraphs and sentences, which will help when you come to the second draft.
  • Expressing your ideas as clearly as possible, so you know what you were trying to say when you come back to the text.

You do not need to start by writing the introduction. Begin where it feels most natural for you — some prefer to finish the most difficult sections first, while others choose to start with the easiest part. If you created an outline, use it as a map while you work.

Do not delete large sections of text. If you begin to dislike something you have written or find it doesn’t quite fit, move it to a different document, but don’t lose it completely — you never know if it might come in useful later.

Paragraph structure

Paragraphs are the basic building blocks of research papers. Each one should focus on a single claim or idea that helps to establish the overall argument or purpose of the paper.

Example paragraph

George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language” has had an enduring impact on thought about the relationship between politics and language. This impact is particularly obvious in light of the various critical review articles that have recently referenced the essay. For example, consider Mark Falcoff’s 2009 article in The National Review Online, “The Perversion of Language; or, Orwell Revisited,” in which he analyzes several common words (“activist,” “civil-rights leader,” “diversity,” and more). Falcoff’s close analysis of the ambiguity built into political language intentionally mirrors Orwell’s own point-by-point analysis of the political language of his day. Even 63 years after its publication, Orwell’s essay is emulated by contemporary thinkers.

Citing sources

It’s also important to keep track of citations at this stage to avoid accidental plagiarism . Each time you use a source, make sure to take note of where the information came from.

You can use our free citation generators to automatically create citations and save your reference list as you go.

APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator

The research paper introduction should address three questions: What, why, and how? After finishing the introduction, the reader should know what the paper is about, why it is worth reading, and how you’ll build your arguments.

What? Be specific about the topic of the paper, introduce the background, and define key terms or concepts.

Why? This is the most important, but also the most difficult, part of the introduction. Try to provide brief answers to the following questions: What new material or insight are you offering? What important issues does your essay help define or answer?

How? To let the reader know what to expect from the rest of the paper, the introduction should include a “map” of what will be discussed, briefly presenting the key elements of the paper in chronological order.

The major struggle faced by most writers is how to organize the information presented in the paper, which is one reason an outline is so useful. However, remember that the outline is only a guide and, when writing, you can be flexible with the order in which the information and arguments are presented.

One way to stay on track is to use your thesis statement and topic sentences . Check:

  • topic sentences against the thesis statement;
  • topic sentences against each other, for similarities and logical ordering;
  • and each sentence against the topic sentence of that paragraph.

Be aware of paragraphs that seem to cover the same things. If two paragraphs discuss something similar, they must approach that topic in different ways. Aim to create smooth transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and sections.

The research paper conclusion is designed to help your reader out of the paper’s argument, giving them a sense of finality.

Trace the course of the paper, emphasizing how it all comes together to prove your thesis statement. Give the paper a sense of finality by making sure the reader understands how you’ve settled the issues raised in the introduction.

You might also discuss the more general consequences of the argument, outline what the paper offers to future students of the topic, and suggest any questions the paper’s argument raises but cannot or does not try to answer.

You should not :

  • Offer new arguments or essential information
  • Take up any more space than necessary
  • Begin with stock phrases that signal you are ending the paper (e.g. “In conclusion”)

There are four main considerations when it comes to the second draft.

  • Check how your vision of the paper lines up with the first draft and, more importantly, that your paper still answers the assignment.
  • Identify any assumptions that might require (more substantial) justification, keeping your reader’s perspective foremost in mind. Remove these points if you cannot substantiate them further.
  • Be open to rearranging your ideas. Check whether any sections feel out of place and whether your ideas could be better organized.
  • If you find that old ideas do not fit as well as you anticipated, you should cut them out or condense them. You might also find that new and well-suited ideas occurred to you during the writing of the first draft — now is the time to make them part of the paper.

The goal during the revision and proofreading process is to ensure you have completed all the necessary tasks and that the paper is as well-articulated as possible.

Global concerns

  • Confirm that your paper completes every task specified in your assignment sheet.
  • Check for logical organization and flow of paragraphs.
  • Check paragraphs against the introduction and thesis statement.

Fine-grained details

Check the content of each paragraph, making sure that:

  • each sentence helps support the topic sentence.
  • no unnecessary or irrelevant information is present.
  • all technical terms your audience might not know are identified.

Next, think about sentence structure , grammatical errors, and formatting . Check that you have correctly used transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas. Look for typos, cut unnecessary words, and check for consistency in aspects such as heading formatting and spellings .

Finally, you need to make sure your paper is correctly formatted according to the rules of the citation style you are using. For example, you might need to include an MLA heading  or create an APA title page .

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Checklist: Research paper

I have followed all instructions in the assignment sheet.

My introduction presents my topic in an engaging way and provides necessary background information.

My introduction presents a clear, focused research problem and/or thesis statement .

My paper is logically organized using paragraphs and (if relevant) section headings .

Each paragraph is clearly focused on one central idea, expressed in a clear topic sentence .

Each paragraph is relevant to my research problem or thesis statement.

I have used appropriate transitions  to clarify the connections between sections, paragraphs, and sentences.

My conclusion provides a concise answer to the research question or emphasizes how the thesis has been supported.

My conclusion shows how my research has contributed to knowledge or understanding of my topic.

My conclusion does not present any new points or information essential to my argument.

I have provided an in-text citation every time I refer to ideas or information from a source.

I have included a reference list at the end of my paper, consistently formatted according to a specific citation style .

I have thoroughly revised my paper and addressed any feedback from my professor or supervisor.

I have followed all formatting guidelines (page numbers, headers, spacing, etc.).

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Basic Research in Psychology

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

basic research article examples

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

basic research article examples

Basic research—also known as fundamental or pure research—refers to study and research meant to increase our scientific knowledge base. This type of research is often purely theoretical, with the intent of increasing our understanding of certain phenomena or behavior. In contrast with applied research, basic research doesn't seek to solve or treat these problems.

Basic Research Examples

Basic research in psychology might explore:

  • Whether stress levels influence how often students engage in academic cheating
  • How caffeine consumption affects the brain
  • Whether men or women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression
  • How attachment styles among children of divorced parents compare to those raised by married parents

In all of these examples, the goal is merely to increase knowledge on a topic, not to come up with a practical solution to a problem.

The Link Between Basic and Applied Research

As Stanovich (2007) noted, many practical solutions to real-world problems have emerged directly from basic research. For this reason, the distinction between basic research and applied research is often simply a matter of time. As social psychologist Kurt Lewin once observed, "There is nothing so practical as a good theory."

For example, researchers might conduct basic research on how stress levels impact students academically, emotionally, and socially. The results of these theoretical explorations might lead to further studies designed to solve specific problems. Researchers might initially observe that students with high stress levels are more prone to dropping out of college before graduating. These first studies are examples of basic research designed to learn more about the topic.

As a result, scientists might then design research to determine what interventions might best lower these stress levels. Such studies would be examples of applied research. The purpose of applied research is specifically focused on solving a real problem that exists in the world. Thanks to the foundations established by basic research, psychologists can then design interventions that will help students effectively manage their stress levels , with the hopes of improving college retention rates.

Why Basic Research Is Important

The possible applications of basic research might not be obvious right away. During the earliest phases of basic research, scientists might not even be able to see how the information gleaned from theoretical research might ever apply to real-world problems. However, this foundational knowledge is essential. By learning as much as possible about a topic, researchers are able to gather what they need to know about an issue to fully understand the impact it may have.

"For example, early neuroscientists conducted basic research studies to understand how neurons function. The applications of this knowledge were not clear until much later when neuroscientists better understood how this neural functioning affected behavior," explained author Dawn M. McBride in her text The Process of Research in Psychology . "The understanding of the basic knowledge of neural functioning became useful in helping individuals with disorders long after this research had been completed."

Basic Research Methods

Basic research relies on many types of investigatory tools. These include observation, case studies, experiments, focus groups, surveys, interviews—anything that increases the scope of knowledge on the topic at hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Psychologists interested in social behavior often undertake basic research. Social/community psychologists engaging in basic research are not trying to solve particular problems; rather, they want to learn more about why humans act the way they do.

Basic research is an effort to expand the scope of knowledge on a topic. Applied research uses such knowledge to solve specific problems.

An effective basic research problem statement outlines the importance of the topic; the study's significance and methods; what the research is investigating; how the results will be reported; and what the research will probably require.

Basic research might investigate, for example, the relationship between academic stress levels and cheating; how caffeine affects the brain; depression incidence in men vs. women; or attachment styles among children of divorced and married parents.

By learning as much as possible about a topic, researchers can come to fully understand the impact it may have. This knowledge can then become the basis of applied research to solve a particular problem within the topic area.

Stanovich KE.  How to Think Straight About Psychology . 8th edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Allyn and Bacon; 2007.

McCain KW. “Nothing as practical as a good theory” Does Lewin's Maxim still have salience in the applied social sciences? Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology . 2015;52(1):1-4. doi:10.1002/pra2.2015.145052010077

McBride DM. The Process of Research in Psychology . 3rd edition . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications; 2015.

Committee on Department of Defense Basic Research. APPENDIX D: Definitions of basic, applied, and fundamental research . In: Assessment of Department of Defense Basic Research. Washington, D.C.: The National Academic Press; 2005.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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Issue Cover

Article Contents

Primacy of the research question, structure of the paper, writing a research article: advice to beginners.

  • Article contents
  • Figures & tables
  • Supplementary Data

Thomas V. Perneger , Patricia M. Hudelson, Writing a research article: advice to beginners, International Journal for Quality in Health Care , Volume 16, Issue 3, June 2004, Pages 191–192, https://doi.org/10.1093/intqhc/mzh053

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Writing research papers does not come naturally to most of us. The typical research paper is a highly codified rhetorical form [ 1 , 2 ]. Knowledge of the rules—some explicit, others implied—goes a long way toward writing a paper that will get accepted in a peer-reviewed journal.

A good research paper addresses a specific research question. The research question—or study objective or main research hypothesis—is the central organizing principle of the paper. Whatever relates to the research question belongs in the paper; the rest doesn’t. This is perhaps obvious when the paper reports on a well planned research project. However, in applied domains such as quality improvement, some papers are written based on projects that were undertaken for operational reasons, and not with the primary aim of producing new knowledge. In such cases, authors should define the main research question a posteriori and design the paper around it.

Generally, only one main research question should be addressed in a paper (secondary but related questions are allowed). If a project allows you to explore several distinct research questions, write several papers. For instance, if you measured the impact of obtaining written consent on patient satisfaction at a specialized clinic using a newly developed questionnaire, you may want to write one paper on the questionnaire development and validation, and another on the impact of the intervention. The idea is not to split results into ‘least publishable units’, a practice that is rightly decried, but rather into ‘optimally publishable units’.

What is a good research question? The key attributes are: (i) specificity; (ii) originality or novelty; and (iii) general relevance to a broad scientific community. The research question should be precise and not merely identify a general area of inquiry. It can often (but not always) be expressed in terms of a possible association between X and Y in a population Z, for example ‘we examined whether providing patients about to be discharged from the hospital with written information about their medications would improve their compliance with the treatment 1 month later’. A study does not necessarily have to break completely new ground, but it should extend previous knowledge in a useful way, or alternatively refute existing knowledge. Finally, the question should be of interest to others who work in the same scientific area. The latter requirement is more challenging for those who work in applied science than for basic scientists. While it may safely be assumed that the human genome is the same worldwide, whether the results of a local quality improvement project have wider relevance requires careful consideration and argument.

Once the research question is clearly defined, writing the paper becomes considerably easier. The paper will ask the question, then answer it. The key to successful scientific writing is getting the structure of the paper right. The basic structure of a typical research paper is the sequence of Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion (sometimes abbreviated as IMRAD). Each section addresses a different objective. The authors state: (i) the problem they intend to address—in other terms, the research question—in the Introduction; (ii) what they did to answer the question in the Methods section; (iii) what they observed in the Results section; and (iv) what they think the results mean in the Discussion.

In turn, each basic section addresses several topics, and may be divided into subsections (Table 1 ). In the Introduction, the authors should explain the rationale and background to the study. What is the research question, and why is it important to ask it? While it is neither necessary nor desirable to provide a full-blown review of the literature as a prelude to the study, it is helpful to situate the study within some larger field of enquiry. The research question should always be spelled out, and not merely left for the reader to guess.

Typical structure of a research paper

The Methods section should provide the readers with sufficient detail about the study methods to be able to reproduce the study if so desired. Thus, this section should be specific, concrete, technical, and fairly detailed. The study setting, the sampling strategy used, instruments, data collection methods, and analysis strategies should be described. In the case of qualitative research studies, it is also useful to tell the reader which research tradition the study utilizes and to link the choice of methodological strategies with the research goals [ 3 ].

The Results section is typically fairly straightforward and factual. All results that relate to the research question should be given in detail, including simple counts and percentages. Resist the temptation to demonstrate analytic ability and the richness of the dataset by providing numerous tables of non-essential results.

The Discussion section allows the most freedom. This is why the Discussion is the most difficult to write, and is often the weakest part of a paper. Structured Discussion sections have been proposed by some journal editors [ 4 ]. While strict adherence to such rules may not be necessary, following a plan such as that proposed in Table 1 may help the novice writer stay on track.

References should be used wisely. Key assertions should be referenced, as well as the methods and instruments used. However, unless the paper is a comprehensive review of a topic, there is no need to be exhaustive. Also, references to unpublished work, to documents in the grey literature (technical reports), or to any source that the reader will have difficulty finding or understanding should be avoided.

Having the structure of the paper in place is a good start. However, there are many details that have to be attended to while writing. An obvious recommendation is to read, and follow, the instructions to authors published by the journal (typically found on the journal’s website). Another concerns non-native writers of English: do have a native speaker edit the manuscript. A paper usually goes through several drafts before it is submitted. When revising a paper, it is useful to keep an eye out for the most common mistakes (Table 2 ). If you avoid all those, your paper should be in good shape.

Common mistakes seen in manuscripts submitted to this journal

Huth EJ . How to Write and Publish Papers in the Medical Sciences , 2nd edition. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1990 .

Browner WS . Publishing and Presenting Clinical Research . Baltimore, MD: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 1999 .

Devers KJ , Frankel RM. Getting qualitative research published. Educ Health 2001 ; 14 : 109 –117.

Docherty M , Smith R. The case for structuring the discussion of scientific papers. Br Med J 1999 ; 318 : 1224 –1225.

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  • What is Pure or Basic Research? + [Examples & Method]

Temitope Ayanyemi

Sometimes, research may be aimed at expanding a field of knowledge or improving the understanding of a natural phenomenon. This type of research is known as a basic, pure or fundamental research, and it is a major means of generating new ideas, principles and theories. 

In many cases, basic research fuels scientific innovations and development because it is driven by the need to unravel the unknown. In this article, we will define what basic research is, its data collection methods and how it differs from other approaches to research. 

What is Basic Research?

Basic research is a type of research approach that is aimed at gaining a better understanding of a subject, phenomenon or basic law of nature. This type of research is primarily focused on the advancement of knowledge rather than solving a specific problem. 

Basic research is also referred to as pure research or fundamental research. The concept of basic research emerged between the late 19th century and early 20th century in an attempt to bridge the gaps existing in the societal utility of science. 

Typically, basic research can be exploratory , descriptive or explanatory; although in many cases, it is explanatory in nature. The primary aim of this research approach is to gather information in order to improve one’s understanding, and this information can then be useful in proffering solutions to a problem. 

Examples of Basic Research 

Basic research can be carried out in different fields with the primary aim of expanding the frontier of knowledge and developing the scope of these fields of study. Examples of basic research can be seen in medicine, education, psychology, technology, to mention but a few.

Basic Research Example in Education  

In education, basic research is used to develop pedagogical theories that explain teaching and learning behaviours in the classroom. Examples of basic research in education include the following:

  • How does the Language Acquisition Device work  on children?
  • How does the human retentive memory work?
  • How do teaching methods affect student’s concentration in class?

Basic Research Example in Science

Basic research advances scientific knowledge by helping researchers understand the function of newly discovered molecules and cells, strange phenomena, or little-understood processes. As with other fields, basic research is responsible for many scientific breakthroughs; even though the knowledge gained may not seem to yield immediate benefits. 

Examples of basic research in science include: 

  • A research to determine the chemical composition of organic molecules.
  • A research to discover the components of the human DNA.

Basic Research Example in Psychology  

In psychology, basic research helps individuals and organisations to gain insights and better understanding into different conditions. It is entirely theoretical and allows psychologists to understand certain behaviors better without providing  solutions to these behaviours or phenomena.  

Examples of basic research in psychology include: 

  • Do stress levels make individuals more aggressive?
  • To what extent does caffeine consumption affect classroom concentration?
  • A research on behavioral differences between children raised by separated families and children raised by married parents.
  • To what extent do gender stereotypes  trigger depression?

Basic Research Example in Health   

Basic research methods improve healthcare by providing different dimensions to the understanding and interpretation of healthcare issues. For example, it allows healthcare practitioners to gain more insight into the origin of diseases which can help to provide cures to chronic medical conditions. 

Many health researchers opine that many vaccines are developed based on an understanding of the causes of the disease such as in the case of the polio vaccine. Several medical breakthroughs have been attributed to the wealth of knowledge provided through basic research. 

Examples of basic research in health include: 

  • An investigation into the symptoms of Coronavirus.
  • An investigation into the causative factors of malaria
  • An investigation into the secondary symptoms of high blood pressure.

Basic Research Method

 An interview is a common method of data collection in basic research that involves having a one-on-one interaction with an individual in order to gather relevant information about a phenomenon. Interview can be structured, unstructured or semi-structured depending on the research process and objectives.  

In a structured interview , the researcher asks a set of premeditated questions while in an unstructured interview, the researcher does not make use of a set of premeditated questions. Rather he or she depends on spontaneity and follow-up questioning in order to gather relevant information. 

On the other hand, a semi-structured interview is a type of interview that allows the researcher to deviate from  premeditated questions in order to gather more  information about the research subject. You can conduct structured interviews online by creating and administering a survey online on Formplus .

  • Observation

Observation is a type of data-gathering method that involves paying close attention to a phenomenon for a specific period of time in order to gather relevant information about its behaviors. When carrying out basic research, the researcher may need to study the research subject for a stipulated period as it interacts with its natural environment. 

Observation can be structured or unstructured depending on its procedures and approach. In structured observation, the data collection is carried out using a predefined procedure and in line with a specific schedule while unstructured observation is not restricted to a predetermined procedure. 

An experiment is a type of quantitative data-gathering method that seeks to validate or refute a hypothesis and it can also be used to test existing theories. In this method of data collection , the researcher manipulates dependent and independent variables to achieve objective research outcomes. 

Typically, in an experiment, the independent variable is modified or changed in order to determine its effects on the dependent variables in the research context. This can be done using 3 major methods; controlled experiments , field experiments, and natural experiments 

  • Questionnaire

A questionnaire is a data collection tool that is made up of a series of questions to which the research subjects provide answers. It is a cost-effective method of data gathering because it allows you to collect large samples of data from the members of the group simultaneously. 

You can create and administer your pure research questionnaire online using Formplus and you can also make use of paper questionnaires; although these are  easily susceptible to damage. [

Here is a step-by-step guide of how to create and administer questionnaires for basic research using Formplus: 

  • Sign in to Formplus

basic research article examples

In the Formplus builder, you can easily create different questionnaires for applied research by dragging and dropping preferred fields into your form. To access the Formplus builder, you will need to create an account on Formplus. 

Once you do this, sign in to your account and click on “Create Form ” to begin.

Edit Form Title

Click on the field provided to input your form title, for example, “Basic Research Questionnaire”.

basic research article examples

Click on the edit button to edit the form.

i. Add Fields: Drag and drop preferred form fields into your form from  the Formplus builder   Inputs column. There are several field input options for questionnaires in the Formplus builder. 

ii. Edit fields

iii. Click on “Save”

iv. Preview form. 

Form Customization


With the form customization options in the form builder, you can easily change the look and feel of your form and make it more unique and personalized. Formplus allows you to change your form theme, add background images and even change the font according to your brand specifications. 

Multiple Sharing Options

basic research article examples

Formplus offers multiple form sharing options which enables you to easily share your questionnaire with respondents. You can use the direct social media sharing buttons to share your form link to your  social media pages. 

In addition, Formplus has an option to convert form links to QR codes; you can personalize and display your form QR code on your website/banners for easy access. You also can send out survey forms as email invitations to your research subjects.  

  • Data Reporting

 Data reporting is a type of data collection method where the researcher gathers relevant data and turns them in for further analysis in order to arrive at specific conclusions. The crux of this method depends, almost entirely, on the validity of the data collected. 

  • Case Studies

A case study is a type of data collection method that involves the detailed examination of a specific subject matter in order to gather objective information about the features and behaviors of the research subject. This method of data gathering is primarily qualitative , although it can also be quantitative or numerical in nature.  

Case studies involve a detailed contextual analysis of a limited number of events or conditions and their relationships. In carrying out a case study, the researcher must take extra care to identify the research questions, collect relevant data then evaluate and analyze the data in order to arrive at objective conclusions. 

Read More: Research Questions: Definition, Types +[Examples]

How is Basic Research Different from Applied Research? 

 Applied research is a type of research that is concerned with solving practical problems using scientific methods while basic research is a type of research that is concerned with the expansion of knowledge. 

Basic research generates new theories or improves on existing theories hence, it is theoretical in nature. On the other hand, applied research creates practical solutions to specific problems hence, it is practical in nature. 

 Basic research is knowledge-specific while applied research is solution-specific. 

  • Research Purpose

The purpose of basic research is to improve on existing knowledge or to discover new knowledge while the purpose of applied research is to solve specific problems. 

The scope of basic research is universal while applied research is limited in nature. This means that while applied research addresses a specific problem and is limited to the problem which it addresses, basic research explores multiple dimensions of various fields. 

  • Basic research is primarily explanatory while applied research is descriptive in nature .
  • Basic research adopts an indirect approach to problem-solving while applied research adopts a direct approach to problem-solving.
  • In basic research, generalizations are common while in applied research, specific problems are investigated without the aim of generalizations.
Read Also: What is Applied Research? +[Types, Examples & Methods]

Characteristics of Basic Research 

  • Basic research is analytical in nature.
  • It aims at theorizing concepts and not solving specific problems.
  • It is primarily concerned with the expansion of knowledge and not with the applicability of the research outcomes.
  • Basic research is explanatory in nature.
  • Basic research is carried out without any primary focus on possible practical ends.
  • It improves the general knowledge and understanding of different fields of study.

Importance of Basic Research

  • Acquisition of New Knowledge: Basic research results in new knowledge. It is responsible for many research breakthroughs in different fields of study and it is often considered as the pacesetter in technological and innovative solutions.
  • Basic research also enhances the understanding of different subject matters and provides multiple possible dimensions for interpretation of these subject matters.
  • Findings of fundamental research are extremely useful in expanding the pool of knowledge in different disciplines.
  • Basic research offers the foundation for applied research.

Disadvantages of Basic Research

  • Findings from pure research have little or no immediate practical implications. However, these findings may be useful in providing solutions to different problems, in the long run.
  • Fundamental research does not have strict deadlines.
  • Basic research does not solve any specific problems.

Basic research is an important research method because it exposes researchers to varying dimensions within a field of study. This proves useful, not only for improving scholarship and the general knowledge-base, but for solving problems as is the concern of applied research. 

When carrying out basic research, the investigator adopts one or more qualitative and quantitative observation methods which includes case studies, experiments and observation. These data collection methods help the researcher to gather the most valid and relevant information for the research. 

In the case of using a survey or questionnaire for data collection , this can easily be done with the use of Formplus forms. Formplus allows you to create and administer different kinds of questionnaires, online and you can easily monitor and categ orise your form responses too. 


Collect and store basic research data with Formplus data collection tool

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  • Temitope Ayanyemi


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  1. How to Write a Research Paper

    Understand the assignment. Choose a research paper topic. Conduct preliminary research. Develop a thesis statement. Create a research paper outline. Write a first draft of the research paper. Write the introduction. Write a compelling body of text. Write the conclusion.

  2. Basic Research in Psychology: Definition and Examples

    Basic Research Examples Basic research in psychology might explore: Whether stress levels influence how often students engage in academic cheating How caffeine consumption affects the brain Whether men or women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression

  3. Writing a research article: advice to beginners

    The typical research paper is a highly codified rhetorical form [1, 2]. Knowledge of the rules—some explicit, others implied—goes a long way toward writing a paper that will get accepted in a peer-reviewed journal. Primacy of the research question. A good research paper addresses a specific research question.

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  5. What is Pure or Basic Research? + [Examples & Method]

    Examples of basic research in science include: A research to determine the chemical composition of organic molecules. A research to discover the components of the human DNA. Basic Research Example in Psychology In psychology, basic research helps individuals and organisations to gain insights and better understanding into different conditions.