What is The Difference Between Study and Research?

Study and Research

The Difference Between Study and Research: You’ve always wondered what the difference is between studying and researching. While they may seem similar at first glance, studying and researching actually have some key differences. Understanding the nuances can help you be more effective in your own learning and discovery.

In this post, we’ll break down the distinction in a simple way. You’ll learn how factors like goals, methods, and output set studying and researching apart. We’ll also look at real-world examples so you can see the contrast.

By the end, the line between the two will be clear. You’ll have a solid grasp of how studying tends to be more focused on gaining knowledge, while research focuses on creating it. Let’s dive in and demystify the difference!

Defining Study and Research

Study and Research

Research is a systematic investigation to establish facts and reach new conclusions. Its main objective is to discover and interpret new knowledge about the topic being investigated. Research helps us make informed decisions and gain a deeper understanding of the world around us.

A study, on the other hand, is a particular investigation into a specific topic to gain knowledge about it. Its purpose can be to identify the cause of a problem, determine the best solution, or gain insight into an issue. Studies are often more narrowly focused than research. They can involve analyzing data, reviewing literature, conducting surveys, or experimenting.

Types of Research

There are two main types of research: basic research and applied research. Basic research aims to advance knowledge without a specific application in mind. Applied research focuses on solving practical problems. It’s often done by companies or on behalf of clients. Clinical research studies new treatments and medications. Academic research is done at universities to expand knowledge in a field. Action research aims to solve a problem in a community or organization.

Differences in Methodology

Research and studies can differ in their methodology. Quantitative research uses statistical analysis and numbers to investigate topics. Qualitative research relies more on open-ended questions and aims to gain an in-depth understanding of reasons and motivations. Mixed methods research combines both quantitative and qualitative methods.

While research and study are closely related, there are some key differences in their scope, objectives, and methodology. Both play an important role in expanding our knowledge and enabling progress. Conducting good research and study involves systematically investigating topics, analyzing information, and drawing evidence-based conclusions.

The Main Differences Between Research and Study

Exploring Knowledge vs Testing a Hypothesis

A study is usually an investigation that explores an area to gain more knowledge and understanding. Researchers observe or analyze information to learn more about a particular topic or field. A research, on the other hand, typically begins with a research question or hypothesis that the researcher wants to test. Researchers then design an experiment or survey to collect data that can support or refute their hypothesis.

Broad vs Narrow in Scope

Studies tend to be broader in scope and aim to gain a general understanding of a subject. Research usually has a narrower focus and aims to produce new insights or test a specific theory. For example, a study may examine student well-being, while a research project may focus specifically on the effects of after-school programs on student well-being.

Flexible vs Rigorous Methodology

The methodology of a study is often more flexible and exploratory. Research follows the scientific method and has a very rigorous methodology. Researchers carefully design experiments, control variables, and analyze data to draw valid conclusions. The results of a study may lead to new research questions, while research aims to provide definitive answers to questions.

For Discovery vs For Decision Making

The goal of a study is often simply to explore and gain knowledge about a topic. Research is usually conducted to inform important decisions or policies. The results of research may influence how people or organizations think or act. Research aims to contribute valuable information that can shape practices, procedures, or behaviors.

In summary, while studying and researching a topic may seem similar, there are some key differences in their scope, methodology, and purpose. Both can lead to new insights, but research aspires to be more systematic, rigorous, and definitive. The main goal of research is to produce new knowledge that can drive change.

Types of Research Methods vs Study Designs

Observational Studies

Observational studies simply observe and measure specific characteristics. Researchers don’t introduce an intervention or manipulate variables. They observe relationships and patterns in the real world. Cohort studies and cross-sectional studies are two types of observational studies.

In cohort studies, researchers follow groups of people over time to determine how certain exposures influence outcomes. The Framingham Heart Study is an example of a famous cohort study. Cross-sectional studies examine the relationship between diseases and other variables of interest as they exist in a defined population at a single point in time.

Experimental Studies

Experimental studies actively intervene to test causal relationships. Researchers manipulate variables and control conditions to observe the effect on participants. The gold standard of experimental studies is the randomized controlled trial (RCT). RCTs randomly assign participants to intervention and control groups. By controlling for confounding factors, RCTs can determine whether there’s a causal relationship between interventions and outcomes.

Qualitative vs Quantitative Research

Qualitative research explores attitudes, behaviors, and experiences. It aims to gain an in-depth understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. Quantitative research generates numerical data and statistics to test objective theories by examining the relationship between variables. While qualitative research uses small sample sizes, quantitative methods require large sample sizes to yield statistically significant results.

Literature Reviews vs Empirical Research

A literature review summarizes existing knowledge on a topic by analyzing previous studies. Empirical research generates new data through observations or experiments. Literature reviews build on empirical research by integrating and interpreting findings from multiple studies. Empirical research aims to contribute original knowledge, while literature reviews synthesize knowledge to identify research gaps and inform new research questions.

In summary, while all studies aim to expand knowledge, research actively intervenes to determine causal relationships. Studies can take an observational or experimental approach using qualitative or quantitative methods. Literature reviews analyze existing research, whereas empirical studies generate original data and findings.

Purpose and Goals of Research vs Study

Study and Research


Research aims to discover and interpret facts in a systematic manner. The purpose of research is to gain a better understanding of the world and usually addresses open-ended questions. Researchers follow the scientific method, formulating hypotheses and theories to gain new knowledge. The goal of research is to uncover the truth and expand human understanding.


Studies are more focused investigations, often concentrating on a particular topic or field. The purpose of a study is usually to analyze or evaluate a subject in depth. Studies can explore both open-ended questions as well as narrow, specific questions. The goal of a study is often to inform practice or policy. Studies may use research methods but on a smaller scale.

Differences in Methodology

Research utilizes rigorous controlled methods and original data collection to test hypotheses, while studies may analyze existing data or literature. Research follows strict protocols to ensure validity, while studies have more flexibility in methodology. Research requires stringent ethical oversight, while studies may only need institutional approval.


Research aims to produce generalizable knowledge that expands theories. Studies usually produce practical knowledge that informs decisions. Research is often published in peer-reviewed academic journals, while studies may be published in industry journals or as technical reports.

To summarize, while research and study share some similarities, there are distinct differences in their purpose, goals, methodology, and outcomes. Both generate knowledge, but research focuses on fundamental understanding and study on practical application. Together, research and study drive continued progress and innovation.

Research Involves Literature Review and Study May Not

Literature Review

Research always involves a literature review. A literature review means reviewing existing studies and literature on a particular topic to gain an understanding of the current state of knowledge. It helps researchers identify gaps in knowledge and areas that need further investigation. In contrast, a study may or may not involve a literature review depending on its objective.

Research Question

Research aims to answer a specific research question or test a hypothesis. The research question guides the methodology and study design. In comparison, a study may have a general objective rather than a focused research question. For example, an observational study may aim to generate hypotheses for future research.

Research Methodology

Research follows a systematic methodology and study design to collect and analyze data. The methodology is carefully planned to ensure the research question can be answered. In contrast, a study may use a simpler methodology depending on its objective. For example, a pilot study aims to test the feasibility of a method or approach.

Generalizable Results

Research aims to produce generalizable results that can be applied broadly. Researchers use methods like random sampling and control groups to ensure results are not limited to the specific study participants or conditions. In comparison, results from a study may not be generalizable beyond the study population and setting. The objective of a study is often more exploratory.

In summary, while all research can be considered a type of study, not all studies constitute research. Research has a rigorous methodology aimed at producing generalizable knowledge and answering specific research questions. In contrast, a study may have a more exploratory objective and use a flexible methodology. The key difference lies in the intent and methodology rather than the topic or subject of investigation.

Research Seeks New Knowledge While Study Tests Existing Ideas

Research focuses on establishing new knowledge and understanding through systematic investigation. Researchers aim to generate original insights or make new discoveries in a particular field or topic. In contrast, studies test or evaluate existing ideas, theories or methods.

Research requires developing a research question or hypothesis and choosing an appropriate research method to find the answer. Researchers might conduct experiments, surveys, interviews or observational studies. They analyze the data and results to draw new conclusions. Studies, on the other hand, aim to assess the validity, effectiveness or usefulness of established concepts or practices. Researchers might review previous literature or replicate prior studies.

For research, the goal is to uncover information that was previously unknown. Studies seek to determine how established knowledge applies to certain situations or populations. Research leads to innovative discoveries and pushes the boundaries of understanding. Studies support informed decision making by verifying and building upon existing ideas.

Both research and studies require well-designed methodologies and strict adherence to ethical guidelines. However, research involves more uncertainty as the outcomes are unknown. Studies have more predictable results as they work within the framework of current knowledge.

In summary, research seeks to generate new knowledge through experimental, analytical and theoretical work. Studies apply and evaluate what is already known in a structured and systematic manner. While research leads to original insights, studies provide evidence to support or refute established beliefs and guide practical applications. Together, research and studies drive continued progress in all fields of study.

Research Requires Rigorous Methodology and Study May Be More Flexible

Conducting research requires following a rigorous methodology to answer a specific question or test a hypothesis. Researchers systematically collect and analyze data to generate new knowledge or confirm existing theories. In contrast, studies can be more flexible and exploratory.

Research begins with identifying a research problem or question that needs to be solved. Researchers then conduct a literature review to understand existing knowledge on the topic. Next, they determine the research method, such as qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods. Researchers also consider the study design, such as experimental, quasi-experimental, or non-experimental. They establish variables, measurements, and ways to control for bias.

Researchers must get approval from an institutional review board to ensure ethical practices before collecting data. They recruit representative participants and obtain informed consent. Data is then collected, organized, and analyzed using statistical methods to determine significance and draw conclusions. Researchers aim for reliability, validity, and generalizability so findings can inform decisions or be built upon in future research.

While research is systematic and aims to generate new insights, studies can be more flexible. For example, a cohort study or case study observes participants over time without controlling conditions. An evaluation assesses the impact of a program or policy. Literature reviews and systematic reviews synthesize existing research. These types of studies still require rigor but may be less structured than true experimental research.

In summary, research and studies can both lead to new understanding, but research follows a more stringent methodology to yield generalizable and scientifically valid results. Though research may be more demanding, it is necessary to advance knowledge and solve complex problems. Overall, we need both research and studies to gain a complete picture of the world around us.

Research Must Follow Ethical Guidelines Like IRB Approval

Any research study that involves human participants must follow strict ethical guidelines to ensure the safety, rights, and welfare of the participants. Most academic institutions require approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB) before any research can begin.

The IRB reviews the proposed research study and determines if the risks to participants are minimized and reasonable in relation to the anticipated benefits. They evaluate if the selection of subjects is equitable and if informed consent will be obtained. The IRB can approve, require modifications to, or disapprove any research study. Some of the key ethical guidelines for research involving humans include:

Informed consent: Participants must give their voluntary consent to take part in the research study after being fully informed of the purpose, risks, and benefits. Consent must be obtained before any research activities begin.

Minimizing harm: Risks to participants should be minimized as much as possible while still achieving the research objectives. The benefits of the research should outweigh any risks. Physical, psychological, social, and economic harms must all be considered.

Equitable selection: The burdens and benefits of research should be distributed fairly among all groups and classes in society. Certain classes should not be unfairly targeted or excluded from research participation without justification.

Privacy and confidentiality: Participants have a right to expect their privacy will be respected and their personal information kept confidential. Identifiable private information should be protected and not shared without consent.

Research integrity: Fabricating, falsifying, or misrepresenting research data, findings or outcomes is unethical and undermines the integrity of research. Researchers must report findings accurately and objectively.

Following these ethical guidelines helps ensure research is conducted responsibly and for the benefit of society. Upholding strong ethics is essential for building trust in the research community and gaining public support for research. Researchers have an obligation to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects.

FAQs on the Difference Between Research and Study

Study and Research

What is the main purpose of research?

Research aims to generate new knowledge or validate existing knowledge. The primary goal of research is to discover new information or scrutinize prevailing ideas. Research seeks to solve an unanswered question or problem.

What is the main purpose of a study?

A study aims to gain an in-depth understanding of a topic or subject. The primary goal of a study is to explore a particular issue in detail. A study can be conducted to determine the frequency of something, discover causes of a problem, or evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention. Studies are often more focused and practical.

What are the characteristics of research?

Some key characteristics of research are:

  • It is systematic and methodical. Research follows a systematic methodology and process.
  • It is objective and evidence-based. Research relies on observable and verifiable evidence rather than opinions or anecdotes.
  • It aims to generate new knowledge. The goal of research is to discover new insights or validate existing theories.
  • It can be applied or theoretical. Applied research aims to solve practical problems. Theoretical research aims to build new theories.

What are some examples of research and studies?

  • Examples of research: clinical trials, literature reviews, observational studies, experimental studies.
  • Examples of studies: cohort studies, case studies, cross-sectional studies, qualitative studies, surveys.
  • Research examples: Investigating a new cancer treatment, analyzing consumer behavior trends, developing a new scientific theory.
  • Study examples: Studying the effects of meditation on stress, evaluating a new teaching method, analyzing characteristics of successful companies.

In summary, while research and studies share some similarities, there are a few key differences in their aims and approaches. Both can lead to new insights, inform policies, and drive innovation. Understanding these nuanced differences can help in designing and conducting impactful research or studies.


You now understand the key differences between studies and research. While both involve investigating a topic, research aims to generate new knowledge and study analyzes existing information. Research asks open-ended questions, while studies test hypotheses.

Research develops methodologies and studies follow established designs. Though distinct, research and studies work together. Studies analyze portions of knowledge that research pieces together. Through reading studies, research identifies gaps to fill. Research then investigates those gaps, producing new findings for future studies to evaluate.

The two fuel an ongoing cycle of discovery. So next time you read a study or research paper, consider its role in that vital process. Knowledge expands when research and study collaborate.



You might Also Enjoy.....

Effective Note-Taking Methods

Effective Note-Taking Methods: The Secret to Studying Smarter

Read More
Learning Style Assessment Tools

Learning Style Assessment Tools: Finding Your Best Way to Learn

Read More
Financial Support for International Students

Financial Support for International Students: Your Guide to Funding Your Education Abroad

Read More

Leave a Comment

Join Us

Recommended Posts

Effective Note-Taking Methods

Effective Note-Taking Methods: The Secret to Studying Smarter

Learning Style Assessment Tools

Learning Style Assessment Tools: Finding Your Best Way to Learn

Financial Support for International Students

Financial Support for International Students: Your Guide to Funding Your Education Abroad

Renewing Study Permits and Student Visas

Renewing Study Permits and Student Visas: What You Need to Know

Designated Learning Institutions in Canada

An Inside Look at Designated Learning Institutions in Canada

Applying for Student Visas

Applying for Student Visas: A Step-by-Step Guide

Applying for Study Permits

Applying for Study Permits: A Guide for International Students

eduall logo

In this website we will share wordpress premium themes and plugins for testing purposes