What is the Difference Between Academic Research and Professional Research?


The term research is a tool that builds knowledge and facilitates learning. From the quest of customer knowledge or exploring a problem to writing a Ph.D. level thesis, research is applied in so many ways in our lives. What is research? The simplest answer is that it is a process of problem-solving by collecting information and knowledge.

Research is a systematic process or action of collecting, analyzing and interpreting data on a phenomenon which we are interested in. The process requires sufficient time (often lengthy), focus, and specific intensiveness and is educative. It is not just rummaging for information and merely accumulate it, but something that needs a good deal of analytical skills along with rigorous investigation and should produce new knowledge or substantiate the existing knowledge with essential points.

Research can be in different ways depending on your field and the way you look at it. The biggest example is academic research and professional research where both deal with research and share certain common characteristics but is different.

Academic Research

Academic research is also known as scholarly research which is majorly educational. It seeks to make addition to a larger body of knowledge. The research question tends to be more conceptual and the timelines are usually longer. Since academic research is more educational it requires theoretical focus and needs to be scientifically validated. The findings or results broadly inspire ideas and questions that can be extended for future researches. That is, other researchers can also replicate similar results. The findings are made public in general via academic writings like thesis, dissertation research, academic conferences, scholarly journals, presentations, academic articles, even by other publications like books. Academic research is evaluated through the reviews following academic discipline standards.

Professional Research

Also known as applied research, professional research is outlined as a research work that seeks to solve practical issues and problems, which are often instant. This research aims to advance an individual's profession and can be found in a professional way. This organizationally focused research facilitates everyday problems and business requirements. It may or may not use scientific or systematic procedures in the methodology or to find the answers to the questions. Unlike academic research, this is not grounded in theories and does not need a representative sample.

The finding of professional research would be the development of new technologies rather than gaining knowledge for knowledge's sake. They are generally kept private and used internally to make decisions and strategies. The results of professional research are revealed in the form of internal reports, articles, case studies, etc. and is shared through professional conferences and industry or trade publications. The findings are evaluated only by the client-organization or by industry standards. Since the professional researches are seeking answers for a specific business question, they are limited timelines which typically comes as rapid.

  • Problems are established and questions will be asked on it
  • Attempts to validate the field or profession of research
  • Results bring in new knowledge
  • Binds to the ethical standards
  • Caters a much larger research community.

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