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Basic research or fundamental research (sometimes pure research) is research carried out to increase understanding of fundamental principles. Many times the end results have no direct or immediate commercial benefits: basic research can be thought of as arising out of curiosity. However, in the long term it is the basis for many commercial products and applied research. Basic research is mainly carried out by universities.

Basic research advances fundamental knowledge about the human world. It focuses on refuting or supporting theories that explain how this world operates, what makes things happen, why social relations are a certain way, and why society changes. Basic research is the source of most new scientific ideas and ways of thinking about the world. It can be exploratory, descriptive, or explanatory; however, explanatory research is the most common. Basic research generates new ideas, principles and theories, which may not be immediately utilized; though are the foundations of modern progress and development in different fields. Today's computers could not exist without the pure research in mathematics conducted over a century ago, for which there was no known practical application at that time. Basic research rarely helps practitioners directly with their everyday concerns. Nevertheless, it stimulates new ways of thinking about deviance that have the potential to revolutionize and dramatically improve how practitioners deal with a problem. A new idea or fundamental knowledge is not generated only by basic research can build new knowledge. Nonetheless, basic research is essential for nourishing the expansion of knowledge. Researchers at the center of the scientific community conduct most of the basic research.

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