Difference Between Search and Research

Search and research are two very commonly used terms in various conversations. They are often confused for being the same thing, especially because of their similar composition in terms of spelling. However, they have several differences between them when it comes to their meaning, method, duration and even dependence on each other.

Search vs Research

The main difference between search and research is that search is the process of finding something by deliberately looking for it whereas research includes an element of deeper analysis as it is the process of collecting data and information, verifying it and thereby reaching a certain conclusion. Moreover, searching for something is not done in a systematic way, unlike researching. 

Search vs Research

Search is a random process of looking for something in a non-systematic manner. This could be done in order to find a solution for something, a missing object or simply an answer to a question. However, the question and result are not very complicated or detailed, and neither is the method of searching.

On the other hand, research is a systematic method of reaching conclusions. It is done by collecting data and information, verifying it and then analysing it. The question and result are often complicated and detailed. To find the correct conclusion, different techniques and methods can be used. However, they must be credible, logical, and reliable.

Comparison Table Between Search and Research

Parameters of ComparisonSearchResearch
MeaningSearch is the process of looking for something in a non-systematic manner.Research is a process of reaching a conclusion in a systematic manner.
AimThe aim of searching is to find something.The aim of researching is to reveal new information and establish a correct conclusion based on that.
MethodSearching does not include structured techniques.Researching includes the collection of information, verification, analysis, and deduction.
Time SpanThe process of searching for something is generally short.The process of researching is long and complex.
QualificationNo qualification is required to search for something.Generally, a qualification is required to carry out a research project.
ControlSearching is not monitored or regulated.Research is monitored and regulated by someone other than the researcher.
DependencySearch is not dependent on research.Research is dependent on search.

Search is a term used to describe the process of looking for something using random methods and techniques. The questions and results involved are not very complex or detailed. Even the method is simple. There is no element of analysis or verification. Often, the results of searching for something may turn out to be wrong.

If a person has lost a belonging, he would ‘search’ for it. If NASA sends a rover to Mars, it is because they are ‘searching’ for signs of life. Moreover, if you look up information on the internet, you have conducted a ‘search’. The basic idea here is to look for something that is either uncertain or missing.

An important aspect of this is that a ‘search’ could be conducted by anyone at any place. A qualification or any other kind of threshold is not necessary. The person searching could be a child, adult or even an animal for that matter.

Earlier, for gathering information or finding out answers, people used to give in to the methods of asking other people or looking for it in books. However, times have changed as people now rely on search engines heavily. It is a quick and easy method that can dig out solutions regardless of time and place.

What is Research?

Research is a systematic way of looking for something. It has more complexity and detail involved unlike when something is ‘searched’ for. However, to some extent, research is dependent on search. This is because when data and information is being collected for research, it needs to be searched for. The data is then verified, analysed, and used to come up with a conclusion.

If NASA ever found signs of life on Mars, the data of the search would be collected and analysed. It would then be used to establish certain facts and thereby reach a conclusion. This is how research takes place. For that matter, simply looking stuff up on the internet or going through books would not be considered research.

A certain qualification is required to carry out a research project. These qualifications are gained through PhD programs in which students are asked to conduct a thesis. In this, a student chooses a subject topic to work on. He looks up information regarding the subject, analyses it and then comes up with conclusions that establish facts and separate the truth from lies. The entire project is monitored and regulated and monitored by an expert who then decides if the project is legitimate or not.

Main Differences Between Search and Research

  1. Search is the non-systematic process of looking for something whereas research is a systematic way of reaching a conclusion.
  2. The aim of searching is to find something whereas that of research is to uncover new information, establish facts and separate truth from lies.
  3. Searching does not include structured techniques whereas research involves the collection of data, verification, analysis, and deduction.
  4. The process of searching is short whereas that of researching is long.
  5. No qualification is required for searching whereas a qualification is required for researching.
  6. A search is not monitored or regulated whereas research is monitored by a senior.
  7. Search is not dependent on research whereas research is dependent on search.


Search and research are often confused for one another, but they have major differences between them. Search is a non-systematic process whereas research is a systematic one. While searching for something, there is no structured process involved. On the other hand, while researching for something, data is collected, verified, and analysed on the basis of which a conclusion is established.

Searching is not as complicated or detailed as the latter. For searching, a qualification is not required unlike researching, which requires a PhD. Moreover, a search is not monitored or regulated in any way whereas research is monitored by a senior.


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1966-04301-001
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=_tTnCAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR3&dq=search+vs+research&ots=YCxhkVxrX3&sig=ZJ-0E78lY4LIuQGZpdoIjsr3oSA

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