Is applied research more valuable than theoretical research?

Applied research refers to one that has a specific direction and leads towards answering a particular hypothesis that typically have defined and structured methods whereas on the other hand, theoretical research provides a richer insight into broader areas and does not typically have defined methods of investigation and therefore the results are more likely to be capable of being generalised to the common population. 

Both types of research serve an important purpose within the field of Psychology however it has been argued that without theoretical research, applied research would not even exist. Furthermore if theoretical research did not exist, we would have no basis on which to build broader research upon. As I have stated above, applied research is one that involves a particular direction in order to answer a specific hypothesis whereas theoretical research would provide more generalisable results that covers a larger spectrum of individuals. For example, applied research would involve analysing the effects of a drug on individuals that are suffering from depression whereas theoretical research would essentially investigate the effects of that particular drug on a sample of randomly selected participants that do not ”belong” within a certain category of individuals or so to speak. 

To conclude critics believe that without the findings that are obtained from the results of theoretical research, applied researchers would not have the required knowledge that is essential in order to know what particular populations they need to target their hypothesis upon. 


11 thoughts on “Is applied research more valuable than theoretical research?

  1. Hi this was a good blog but I do not believe that you have clearly answered the topic question. I can not gather whether or not you believe applied or theoretical research findings are more valuable. Maybe you could have stated which you thought was more valuable and then why, by saying who benefited from the findings etc. You could have also backed up what you have said in the blog with some research evidence. I believe that overall you have made a good blog but you could have included so much more to make it an interesting read because where you had started off with the suggestion that applied research would not exist without theoretical research was good.
    Thank you.

  2. Helo, I thought your blog was good, but it wasnt very insightful (sori) you didnt use any examples, you didnt use any evidence and you didnt go into the topic deep enough, a good read…just a little short. thanks 🙂

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  4. Hey, I found your blog very interesting and you have created a good debate regarding the fact that without theoretical research there will not be applied research. This is a very good point and I do understand that you cannot have a theory before getting a result of a applied research. However, I personally believe that applied research is more valuable than theoretical research due to the fact that applied research solves problems and would help members of the public. Theoretical research on the other hand, is based on theories and cannot solve problems. Perhaps you could have strengthened your blog and opinion by having some evidence. Nevertheless, you have gathered many interesting points regarding the topic! Thank you

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  6. I enjoyed reading your blog and you have looked at why applied and theoretical are important in Psychology. I agree with your concluding paragraph that theoretical findings are important because without them we would not be able to conduct applied research. However, I believe that applied findings are more useful as they are more beneficial to people and have relevance in the real world. To improve, your blog you could have included more examples and research evidence to support your points. For example, Pavlov’s classical conditioning theories have been used in applied research into the treatment of phobias. Without the behavioural theories, there would be no behavioural treatment of phobias.

  7. Hi. Your blog is excellent, it has a good introductio into the topic, followed by a main body which explains your point across very well and a conclusion giving your account on how theoretical research is better. I would however would have liked a little bit of references within the blog, that would then show exaple on what research is based on which and what research has been based upon it e.g. Freudian theoretical research into EIBI methods. You would then also be able to critically evaluate both which is always a great way of understanding the writer. A very strong and descriptive blog still 🙂

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  9. Hi your blog is interesting and well written. I agree with you that both applied research and theoretical research is important. As theoretical research can guide treatment design, and treatment outcome can test developmental theories Dodge (1993). While applied research tests specific population. You have also explained how important they both are in a very interesting way and why they both are important in our society. Thank You.

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