ETYM Pref. re- + search: cf Old Fren. recerche, French recherche.
Systematic investigation to establish facts.
The primary activity in science, a combination of theory and experimentation directed toward finding scientific explanations of phenomena. It is commonly classified into two types: pure research, involving theories with little apparent relevance to human concerns; and applied research, concerned with finding solutions to problems of social importance—for instance in medicine and engineering. The two types are linked in that theories developed from pure research may eventually be found to be of great value to society.
Scientific research is most often funded by government and industry, and so a nation's wealth and priorities are likely to have a strong influence on the kind of work undertaken.
In 1989 the European Community (now the European Union) Council adopted a revised program on research and technological development for the period 1990–94, requiring a total ec finance of 5,700 million ecUs, to be apportioned as follows: information and communications technology 2,221 million; industrial and materials technologies 888 million; life sciences and technologies 741 million; energy 814 million; human capacity and mobility 518 million; environment 518 million.
ETYM Pref. re- + search: cf. Old Fren. recerchier, French rechercher.
1. To attempt to find out.
2. To inquire into; SYN. search, explore.