Purposes of Research: Descriptive Research, Assessment, and Evaluation

 Descriptive Research, Assessment, and Evaluation

Fundamental or Basic Research

journalpapers.org To this point, we have described research in its more formal aspects. Research has drawn its pattern and spirit from the physical sciences and has represented a rigorous, structured type of analysis. We have presented the goal of research as the development of theories by the discovery of broad generalizations or principles. We have employed careful sampling procedures to extend the findings beyond the group or situation studied.

So far our discussion has shown little concern for the application of the findings to actual problems in areas considered to be the concern of people other than the investigator. Such an approach, which often leads to knowledge for knowledge’s sake, is the approach of basic or fundamental research.

Fundamental research is usually carried on in a laboratory or some other sterile environment, sometimes with animals. This type of research, which generally has no immediate or planned application, may later result in further research of an applied nature

Applied research

Applied research exhibits most of the characteristics of basic research, including the use of sampling techniques and subsequent conclusions for the target audience. However, the purpose of 2its is to improve a product or process and to test theoretical concepts in real problem situations.  Most educational research is applied research as it seeks to develop a summary of the teaching and learning process, teaching materials, children's behavior and how to modify them, etc.

Action research

Since the late 1930s, the fields of social psychology and education have shown a strong interest in so-called action research. In education, this movement aims to involve both specialist researchers and classroom teachers in the study and application of research.


Descriptive Research, Assessment, and Evaluation 

The term descriptive research has often been used incorrectly to describe three types of investigation that are different. Perhaps their superficial similarities have obscured their differences. Each uses a disciplinary research process by collecting and analyzing empirical data, each seeks to develop knowledge.


To do this competently, everyone needs the expertise of a careful and systematic investigator. A brief explanation may serve to put each one in a proper perspective. Assessment is a fact-finding activity that describes conditions that exist at a particular time. No hypotheses are proposed or tested, no variable relationships are examined, and no recommendations for action are suggested.


Types of Educational Research Any attempt to classify the types of educational research creates a difficult problem. The fact that nearly every textbook offers a different classification system provides convincing evidence that there is no generally accepted scheme. In addition, there is the potential confusion with what we termed the purposes of research (basic, applied, or action) earlier in this chapter.


Some would consider this structure as three types of research. However, because little educational research is fundamental, most being applied or action, we present four categories of research methods that are most common in educational research. Any one of these categories could include research studies that are of a basic, applied or action nature.

Actually, all research involves the elements of observation, description, and the analysis of what happens under certain circumstances. A rather simple four-point analysis may be used to classify educational research. Practically all studies fall under one, or a combination, of these types:

1.      Historical research describes what was. The process involves investigating, recording, analyze ing, and interpreting the events of the past for the purpose of discovering generalizations that are helpful in understanding the past and the present and, to a limited extent, in anticipating the future.

2.      Descriptive research (quantitative) use quantitative methods to describe what it is, describe, record, analyze, and interpret conditions that exist.

  1. Qualitative descriptive research uses nonquantitative methods to describe what is, Qualitative descriptive research uses systematic procedures to discover nonquantifiable relationships between existing variables.
  2. Experimental research describes what will be when certain variables are carefully controlled or manipulated. The focus is on variable relationships. As defined here, deliberate manipulation is always a part of the experimental method.

These four categories are not meant to imply that a study cannot include more than one category. For example, a study might include both quantitative and qualitative methods. At least one entire chapter of this text is devoted to each of these types of research, to techniques of data gathering, and to methods of analysis.


Human beingsdesire to know more about their world has led them from primitive superstition to modern scientific knowledge. From mysticism, dogma, and the limitations of unsystematic observation based on personal experience, they have examined the process of thinking itself to develop the method of deductive inductive thinking, which has become the foundation of the scientific method. Although first applied as a method of the physical sciences, the process of scientific inquiry has also become the prevailing method of the behavioral sciences.

There is no single scientific method because scientists carry on their investigations in a number of ways. However, the accuracy of observation and the qualities of imagination, creativity, objectivity, and patience are some of the common ingredients of all scientific methods.

Form for the purposes of statistical analysis of their observations. This procedure facilitates inferring population characteristics from observed variable relationships as they relate to therror inherent in the sampling process.

Sampling, a deliberate rather than haphazard method of selecting subjects for observation, enables the scientist to infer conclusions about a population of interest from the observed characteristics of a relatively small number of cases. Simple random, systematic, stratified random, area or cluster, and available (nonprobability) samples have been described. Meth- ods of determining the size of an appropriate sample are suggested, and the sources of sample bias are considered.

Research is defined as a systematic and objective analysis and recording of controlled observations that can lead to the development of generalizations, principles, or theories that lead to the prediction and control of event outcomes. The research features presented can help clarify the passion and importance of research.

Basic or basic research is a formal and systematic process of deductive-inductive analysis that leads to theory development. Applied research adapts theory developed through basic research to solve problems. Action research, which may not achieve the characteristics of basic research and rigorous applied research, tries to apply the spirit of the scientific method to problem-solving in specific situations without making assumptions about the general applicability of results outside the research situation.


John W. Best, James V. Kahn, Arbind K. Jha. 2016. Research in Education tenth Edition. TENTH EDITION. Published by Pearson India Education Services Pvt. Ltd, CIN: U72200TN2005PTC057128. Formerly known as TutorVista Global Pvt. Ltd, licensee of Pearson Education in South Asia.



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