What is the difference between formal and informal research?

The main difference between formal and informal research is that formal research uses scientific methods and we can apply its results to a larger group. In informal research, on the other hand, non-scientific methods are used and we can only apply their results to a smaller group.

Research involves collecting data and information on a specific topic. In addition, we can divide research into two broad categories, formal research and informal research. Before conducting a research study, it is always important to decide how formal or rigorous your study will be.

Key areas covered

1. What is formal research - definition, characteristics 2. What is informal research - definition, characteristics 3. Difference between formal and informal research - comparison of key differences

key terms

Informal Research, Formal Research

Difference Between Formal and Informal Research - Summary of Comparison

What is formal research?

Formal research is a type of research study that is conducted using a systematic approach and scientific methods. A formal research study typically comprises several components: summary, introduction , literature review , research design and method , results and analysis, conclusion, bibliography . Overall, formal research is more scientific than informal research and aims to discover new information or solve a problem. It always uses up-to-date, reliable sources. In addition, the information sources used in research are also recorded using a reference system.

Formal vs informal research

Researchers usually begin a formal research study with a hypothesis ; then they rigorously test that hypothesis. They also research and analyze the existing literature on their research topic. This allows them to look at the research topic from multiple perspectives and acknowledge different problems that need to be solved. Compared to informal research, formal research tends to be objective or unbiased. This happens mainly because formal research uses scientific methods that involve objective information. If the research involves participants in surveys or interviews, for example, the researcher must first obtain their written consent. In addition, we can make the findings from formal research accessible to a larger audience.

What is informal research?

Informal research is the use of non-scientific methods to collect and analyze data. Because the research uses non-scientific methods, its results cannot be transferred to a wider audience. Most of us do informal research on a regular basis. Conducting a simple survey, informal interviews with a target group, soliciting opinions from colleagues, searching company files, etc. are all non-scientific methods of data collection and thus forms of informal research.

Compare formal and informal research

Informal research doesn't require a lot of time or effort. This usually just involves searching through some information or collecting some data. Let's say you buy a new laptop. You'll ask for your co-workers' opinion and may search some websites and reviews for more information on laptop brands. Your decision here is based on informal research. But it is important to know that this information can be subjective. In addition, since this is informal research, you may not need to worry about the source of the information.

Difference Between Formal and Informal Research

definition

Formal research is a type of research study conducted using a systematic approach and scientific methods, while informal research is the use of non-scientific methods to collect and analyze data.

Methods

While formal research uses scientific methods, informal research uses non-scientific methods

Time and effort

Informal research takes less time and effort than formal research.

objectivity

Formal research tends to be more objective or unbiased than informal research.

sources

It is necessary to list the sources of information in a formal research, but informal research does not follow this practice.

Application of knowledge

Formal research results can be applied to a larger group, while informal research results can only be applied to a smaller group.

diploma

Formal research is a type of research study conducted using a systematic approach and scientific methods, while informal research is the use of non-scientific methods to collect and analyze data. In addition, formal research tends to be more objective and unbiased than informal research. So this is the main difference between formal and informal research.

Reference:

1. " 3.1: Choosing a Research Methodology." Professional Communication, ECampus Pressbooks, September 1, 2019. 2. Johnson, Ryan. “ Take a closer look at the types of research and coverage. “Two rivers marketing.

Image courtesy:

1. “ Online poll icon or logo ” By Tungilik - Own work (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia2. “ Research scene vector” by Videoplasty.com (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the author: Hasa

Hasa holds a BA in English, French and Translation Studies. She is currently reading for a Masters in English. Her areas of interest include literature, language, linguistics and also food.