Glossary:Basic research

From Statistics Explained

Basic research is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.

Basic research analyzes properties, structures, and relationships with a view to formulating and testing hypotheses, theories or laws.

The results of basic research have no direct or immediate commercial benefits, but are usually published in scientific journals or circulated to interested parties. Occasionally, basic research may be "classified" for security reasons.

Basic research can be split into two categories:

  • pure basic research is carried out for the advancement of knowledge, without seeking long-term economic or social benefits or making any effort to apply the results to practical problems or to transfer the results to sectors responsible for their application;
  • oriented basic research is carried out with the expectation that it will produce a broad base of knowledge likely to form the basis of the solution to recognized or expected, current or future problems or possibilities.

Further information

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Statistical data


  • Frascati Manual: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development - pdf (Publication, OECD, Paris, 2002)