{{Refimprove|date=July 2007}}
{{for|the suburb of Melbourne, Australia|Research, Victoria}}
{{selfref|For the Wikipedia policy, see [[Wikipedia:Original research]]. For information on how to use Wikipedia in your own research, see [[Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia]].}}
[[Image:Research-Warner-Highsmith.jpeg|thumb|[[Olin Levi Warner]], Research holding the torch of knowledge (1896). Library of Congress [[Thomas Jefferson Building]], Washington, D.C.]]
'''Research''' is [[science|scientific]] or [[critical thinking|critical]] investigation aimed at [[discovery (observation)|discovering]] and [[interpretation (logic)|interpreting]] facts. Research may use the [[scientific method]], but need not do so.

'''Scientific research''' relies on the application of the scientific method, a harnessing of [[curiosity]]. This research provides scientific information and theories for the explanation of the [[nature]] and the [[property|properties]] of the world around us. It makes practical applications possible. Scientific research is funded by public authorities, by charitable organisations and by private groups, including many companies. Scientific research can be subdivided into different classifications according to their academic and application disciplines.

'''Historical research''' uses the [[historical method]]. 

The term ''research'' is also used to describe an entire collection of [[information]] about a particular subject.

== Basic research ==

[[Basic research]] (also called ''fundamental'' or ''pure'' research) has as its primary objective the advancement of [[knowledge]] and the theoretical understanding of the relations among variables (see [[statistics]]). It is ''[[Exploration|exploratory]]'' and often driven by the researcher’s [[curiosity]], interest, and intuition. Therefore, it is sometimes conducted without any practical end in mind, although it may have unexpected results pointing to practical applications. The terms “basic” or “fundamental” indicate that, through theory generation, basic research provides the foundation for further, sometimes applied research. As there is no guarantee of short-term practical gain, researchers may find it difficult to obtain funding for basic research.

Examples of questions asked in basic research:
* Does [[string theory]] provide [[physics]] with a [[grand unification theory]]?
* Which aspects of [[genome]]s explain [[organismal complexity]]?
* Is it possible to prove or disprove [[Goldbach's conjecture]]? (i.e., that every even integer greater than 2 can be written as the sum of two, not necessarily distinct [[primes]])

Traditionally, basic research was considered as an activity that preceded applied research, which in turn preceded development into practical applications.  Recently, these distinctions have become much less clear-cut, and it is sometimes the case that all stages will intermix.  This is particularly the case in fields such as [[biotechnology]] and [[electronics]], where fundamental discoveries may be made alongside work intended to develop new products, and in areas where public and private sector partners collaborate in order to develop greater insight into key areas of interest. For this reason, some now prefer the term ''frontier'' research.

==Research processes==
===Scientific research===
{{Main|Scientific method}}
Generally, research is understood to follow a certain structural [[Process (science)|process]]. Though step order may vary depending on the subject matter and researcher, the following steps are usually part of most formal research, both basic and applied:
<div style="-moz-column-count:2; column-count:2;">
* Formation of the topic
* [[Hypothesis]]
* [[Conceptual definition]]s
* [[Operational definition]]s
* Gathering of [[data]]
* Analysis of data
* Test, revising of hypothesis
* Conclusion, iteration if necessary

A common misunderstanding is that by this method a hypothesis can be proven or tested. Generally a hypothesis is used to make predictions that can be tested by observing the outcome of an experiment. If the outcome is inconsistent with the hypothesis, then the hypothesis is rejected. However, if the outcome is consistent with the hypothesis, the experiment is said to support the hypothesis. This careful language is used because researchers recognize that alternative hypotheses may also be consistent with the observations. In this sense, a hypothesis can never be proven, but rather only supported by surviving rounds of scientific testing and, eventually, becoming widely thought of as true (or better, predictive), but this is not the same as it having been proven. A useful hypothesis allows prediction and within the accuracy of observation of the time, the prediction will be verified. As the accuracy of observation improves with time, the hypothesis may no longer provide an accurate prediction. In this case a new hypothesis will arise to challenge the old, and to the extent that the new hypothesis makes more accurate predictions than the old, the new will supplant it.

{{Main|Historical method}}
The [[historical method]] comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use [[historical]] sources and other evidence to research and then to write history. There are various history guidelines commonly used by historians in their work, under the headings of external criticism, internal criticism, and [[synthesis]]. This includes [[higher criticism]] and [[textual criticism]]. Though items may vary depending on the subject matter and researcher, the following concepts are usually part of most formal historical research:
<div style="-moz-column-count:2; column-count:2;">
* Identification of origin date
* Evidence of localization
* Recognition of authorship
* Analysis of data
* Identification of integrity
* Attribution of credibility

== Research methods ==
The goal of the research process is to produce new knowledge, which takes three main forms (although, as previously discussed, the boundaries between them may be fuzzy):
* [[Exploratory research]], which structures and identifies new problems
* [[Constructive research]], which develops solutions to a problem
* [[Empirical research]], which tests the feasibility of a solution using empirical evidence

Research can also fall into two distinct types:
*[[Primary research]]
*[[Secondary research]]

Research methods used by scholars include:
<div style="-moz-column-count:2; column-count:2;">
* [[Action research]]
* [[Cartography]]
* [[Case study]]
* [[Categorisation|Classification]]
* [[Citation Analysis]]
* [[Consumer ethnocentrism]] and CETSCALE
* [[Content analysis|Content or Textual Analysis]]
* [[Delphi method]]
* [[Ethnography]]
* [[Experience]] and [[intuition (knowledge)|intuition]]
* [[Experiment]]s
* [[Googling]]
* [[Grounded Theory]]
* [[Interview]]s
* [[Mathematical model]]s
* [[Participant observation]]
* [[Phenomenology (science)|Phenomenology]]
* [[Q methodology]]
* [[Questionnaires]]
* [[Simulation]]
* [[Statistical analysis]]
* [[Statistical survey]]s
Research is often conducted using the hourglass model.<ref>[http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/strucres.php Structure of Research], Trochim, W.M.K, (2006). Research Methods Knowledge Base.</ref> The hourglass model starts with a broad spectrum for research, focusing in on the required information through the methodology of the project (like the neck of the hourglass), then expands the research in the form of discussion and results.

[[Academic publishing]] describes a system that is necessary in order for academic [[scholar]]s to [[peer review]] the work and make it available for a wider audience. The 'system', which is probably disorganised enough not to merit the title, varies widely by field, and is also always changing, if often slowly. Most academic work is published in journal article or book form. In publishing, STM publishing is an abbreviation for academic publications in science, technology, and [[medicine]].

Most established [[List of academic disciplines|academic fields]] have their own journals and other outlets for publication, though many [[academic journal]]s are somewhat interdisciplinary, and publish work from several distinct fields or subfields. The kinds of publications that are accepted as contributions of knowledge or research vary greatly between fields.

Academic publishing is undergoing major changes, emerging from the transition from the print to the electronic format. [[Business model]]s are different in the electronic environment. Since about the early 1990s, licensing of electronic resources, particularly journals, has been very common. Presently, a major trend, particularly with respect to scholarly journals, is [[open access]]. There are two main forms of open access: open access publishing, in which the articles or the whole journal is freely available from the time of publication, and [[self-archiving]], where the author makes a copy of their own work freely available on the web.

==Research funding==
{{main|Research funding}}

Most funding for [[scientific research]] comes from two major sources, [[corporation]]s (through [[research and development]] departments) and government (primarily through universities and in some cases through military contractors). Many senior researchers (such as group leaders) spend more than a trivial amount of their time applying for grants for research funds. These grants are necessary not only for researchers to carry out their research, but also as a source of merit. Some faculty positions require that the holder has received grants from certain institutions, such as the US [[National Institutes of Health]] (NIH). Government-sponsored grants (e.g. from the NIH, the [[National Health Service]] in Britain or any of the European research councils) generally have a high status.

The word ''research'' derives from the [[French language|French]] '''recherche''', from '''rechercher''', to search closely  where "chercher" means "to search"; its literal meaning is 'to investigate thoroughly'.

== See also ==
* [[Academic conference]]
* [[Advertising Research]]
* [[Creativity techniques]]
* [[Demonstrative evidence]]
* [[Due Diligence]]
* [[Empirical research]]
* [[European Charter for Researchers]]
* [[Internet research]]
* [[Innovation]]
* [[Lab notebook]]
* [[List of fields of doctoral studies]]
* [[Marketing research]]
* [[Open research]]
* [[Operations research]]
* [[Original research]]
* [[Participatory action research]]
* [[Psychological research methods]]
* [[Research and development]]
* [[Social research]]
* [[Empirical evidence]]
* [[Conceptual framework]]


== External links ==
*[http://www.researchiscool.com Research jobs & research-related social networking]
*[http://www.nlm.nih.gov The US National Library of Medicine]
*[http://www.associazionericerca.it The Italian Association for Research]
*[http://www.genevaassociation.org The Geneva Association] (also known as the International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics)
*[http://www.iriinc.org Industrial Research Institute]
*[http://www.eirma.org European Industrial Research Management Association]
*[http://www.evaluationwiki.org The EvaluationWiki]
*[http://research.webometrics.info/ Directory and Ranking of 7000 Research Centers worldwide]
*[http://resources.jacobrcampbell.com/research+methods.php Social Research Methods and Examples]

[[Category:Research| ]]
[[Category:Research methods| ]]

[[el:Έρευνα επιστημονική]]
[[eo:Scienca esploro]]
[[fr:Recherche scientifique]]
[[it:Ricerca scientifica]]
[[he:שיטות מחקר]]
[[pl:Badanie naukowe]]
[[sr:Научно истраживање]]
[[vi:Nghiên cứu]]