In Star Dancer research is a key component to securing victory for your faction.
Research is divided into 4 focused areas.
Speed, Firepower, Defense and Economy.
By choosing one of these areas to devote time to researching your faction's fleets will improve over time. This is all calculated on the remote server and continues researching whether you have the game open or not.
You can only select one focus area at a time but this can be changed as and when desired.
Researching Economy will decrease the time taken to rebuild ships in your fleet. The percentage boost to economy indicates the percentage reduction in build time for each ship.
The benefit of researching economy is that your own fleet will rebuild faster than an opponent with less time spent on researching economy. This many mean the difference between launching an attack against a full strength or weakened opponent. The maximum value for economic research is not as high as for the other focus areas.
Defense research increases the base armour or damage that each of your ships can take before being destroyed. This research increases at a fairly rapid rate to a maximum value - it will reach its maximum value within a couple of days usually. Having tougher ships makes them more likely to win a direct shoot out with enemy of similar type.
Researching firepower increases the damage performed by your ships' weapons. This research increases at a rapid rate as well and usually within a couple of days is at maximum value or close to it. This focus area especially helps ships that already have high firepower values.
Researching speed improves your ships acceleration and velocity values. By improving a ship's acceleration they are more likely to be able to get into a good position in the battle better and are harder for enemies to target. It also means that your ships will be able to target slower enemy more easily.