Inicio > Recursos Inglés > RESEARCH vs. INVESTIGATION


19 / 04 / 2004

RESEARCH vs. INVESTIGATION: meaning and examples

Good morning. I hope you had a good weekend!

How would you translate the Spanish word "investigar" into English?

A) Research
B) Investigate
C) Both (A) and (B)

The correct answer is (C).

However, research and investigate have slightly different meanings and uses.

Research means: to study something in detail in order to discover new facts. Research is usually academic or scientific.

Investigate means: to try to find facts about an incident or a situation in order to know the truth. Investigate is often related to police investigations.

Example 1
When I was in graduate school, I did my research about Second Language Acquisition Theory.

Example 2
The Spanish police are still investigating the March 11th terrorist attack in Madrid; they expect to arrest more people in the next few days.

As you can see, these verbs have very similar meanings, but they are not usually interchangeable. With that in mind, which of the following sentences is INCORRECT?

(i) Thanks to medical research, many illnesses from the 20th century have been eliminated.

(ii) In order to know exactly who is behind the March 11th terrorist attack, more research must be done.
(ii) is incorrect because the type of information needed to solve a crime is discovered through an investigation, not academic research.

Have a great day!