We have an idea of what applied research does, but how does basic research fit into the broader world of research? If it costs money, time and other precious resources, but does not have a direct application, then why bother? Because basic research feeds applied research, and applied research feeds basic research. Basic research is a little less direct than applied research, so we will look at two different examples.
The first basic research example is a common type: evaluation. For example, program evaluation is a meticulous look at the benefits, costs and outcomes of a program. Let’s say we are program evaluators at a substance abuse rehabilitation facility, or rehab, and we want to know if they are rehabilitating substance abusers. We, as evaluators, might look into:
- How many people relapse?
- How many people successfully complete the program?
- Are the funds being divided and utilized properly?
- What changes could be made to improve the success rate?