Pokémon Go Field Research was a major addition for the game in 2018, introducing new Pokémon Go tasks for players to accomplish.
Completing Pokémon Field Research tasks also provides unique rewards as part of Research Breakthroughs, while Special Research tasks help you uncover never before seen Pokémon, including the elusive Mythical Pokémon Mew.
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Field research tasks and rewards change every month, but now there are plenty of additions to that monthly cycle, with many special events and limited features getting their own Research quests as well.
Pokémon Go January Field Research tasks and Research Breakthrough rewards
The January Field Research in Pokémon Go offers a collection of new and old Field Research tasks.
After completing seven tasks, the January Research Breakthrough reward Pokémon is Onix. You can also complete a timed research quest - catching 7 Pokémon - which will reward you with 50 Mega Steelix Energy until you've earned a total of 200 Mega Steelix Energy.
Pokémon Go January Research tasks and rewards:
Catching Pokémon related Field Research tasks
- Catch 5 Pokémon reward - Rhyhorn
- Catch 7 Pokémon reward - Magikarp
- Catch 5 different species of Pokémon reward - Burmy (Plant, Sandy or Trash)
- Catch 5 Pokémon with Weather Boost reward - Poliwag, Vulpix, Hippopotas or Snover
- Catch a Dragon-type Pokémon reward - Dratini or Bagon
- Catch 10 Grass-type Pokémon reward - 10 Venusaur Mega Energy
- Catch 10 Fire-type Pokémon reward - 10 Charizard Mega Energy
- Catch 10 Normal-type Pokémon reward - 10 Pidgeot Mega Energy
- Catch 10 Water-type Pokémon reward - 10 Blastoise Mega Energy
Buddy related Field Research tasks
- Earn 2 Candies walking with your buddy reward - Bunnelby
- Earn 3 Candies walking with your buddy reward - Stunfisk
- Earn 5 hearts with your buddy reward - Eevee
Poké Balls Throwing related Field Research tasks
- Make 5 Nice throws reward - Dunsparce
- Make 3 Great throws reward - Snubbull, Lileep or Anorith
- Make 3 Great throws in a row reward - Onix
- Make 3 Excellent Throws in a row reward - Gible
- Make 5 Curveball Throws in a row reward - Pineco
- Make 5 Great Curveball throws in a row reward - Spinda (Form 4)
Egg related Field Research tasks
- Hatch an Egg reward - Mantine
- Hatch 3 Eggs reward - Chansey
Battle related Field Research tasks
- Battle in Go Battle League 2 times reward - Stunfisk
- Defeat a Team Go Rocket Leader reward - Lapras
- Defeat 3 Team Go Rocket Grunts reward - Onix
- Use 10 supereffective Charged Attacks reward - 20 Abomasnow Mega Energy
Raid related Field Research tasks
- Win 2 raids reward - Snorlax
- Win 5 Raids reward - Aerodactyl
- Win a Level 3 or higher Raid reward - Omanyte or Kabuto
Friend related Field Research tasks
- Open 5 Gifts reward - Slakoth
- Trade a Pokémon reward - Bidoof
Miscellaneous Field Research tasks
- Walk 2km reward - Shellder
- Spin 3 PokéStops or Gyms reward - Sudowoodo
- Spin 5 PokéStops or Gyms reward - Ralts
- Evolve a Pokémon reward - Eevee
- Use 5 Berries to help catch Pokémon reward - Wurmple
- Take a snapshot of a wild Pokémon reward - Hoppip, Yanma, Murkrow or Miltank
- Power up Pokémon 3 times reward - Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle or 10 Venusaur, Charizard, Blastoise, Beedrill or Pidgeot Mega Energy
- Power up Pokémon 5 times reward - Chikorita, Cyndaquil or Totodile encounters
- Power up Pokémon 7 times reward - Mudkip, Treecko or Torchic
Pokémon Go Field Research quests explained
Field research are missions collected one at a time by spinning a PokéStop, and will involve finding certain creatures, engaging in battles and other activities.
Every day PokéStops will give you a new quest, and each type of quest can have one of many different rewards, from previously Raid-exclusive consumables such as TMs and Rare Candy and common items such as Poké Balls.
Examples of quest types include:
- Catch one or two specific Pokemon (such as 3x Pidgey or Murkrow)
- Catch specific Types (such as catch 10x Normal Type Pokemon)
- Catch Weather-boosted Types
- Hatch a certain number of Eggs
- Battle in a Gym a certain number of times
- Battle in a Raid a certain number of times
- Evolve a certain number of Pokemon
- Make a certain number of specific throws (such as Nice, Great or Excellent)
- Spin a certain number of PokeStops
Some of these quest rewards even give you the chance to catch a mystery Pokémon. There's nothing exclusive here, but there does include uncommon and rare Pokémon, such as Tangela and Chansey, depending on the quest in particular.
As well as from a PokéStop, one additional research quest will also be added to your list at midnight local time. If you have a full roster of research, then you'll receive a fourth regardless - though if you still have four the following evening, no more will be added.
It's also worth knowing that the quests and associated rewards on offer rotate in a monthly basis. Additionally, some quests can have different rewards, so 'Make 5 Nice Throws' could offer you Balls or the chance to catch a mystery creature. So if you are after a particular Pokémon, make sure you get the variant that has the creature catch as a reward.
Finally, it's also worth knowing that if you pick up a quest, you are free to delete it and catch another by spinning another Pokéstop. You can also complete as many as you like in a day - so when you have space in your inventory, return to a PokéStop to start quest. Spin the same Pokéstop and you'll just get the same quest again though - Pokéstops give out set rewards, that are generally tailored to their location, which refresh every day at midnight. So if you want a new quest you'll need to spin another stop.
Research Breakthroughs explained
Completing one Field Research quest per day will give you a stamp. Get seven stamps - which will take seven days - completes something known as a Research Breakthrough.
These have even greater rewards - including Stardust and Mystery Items - as well as an encounter with a very rare or Legendary Pokémon.
You'll also receive plenty of other items too - including a chance at Rare Candy, Pokéballs, Berries, 2,000 Stardust, 3,000 XP, and a Sinnoh Stone.
The best news about these Research Breakthrough catches is they cannot run away - it has a flee chance of 0 per cent - so the pressure is off. However, it has the same catch rate as normal, so be prepared for it to break out of your balls.
This means you can use Pinap Berries, or even use it as a chance to rack up some of the harder throwing-based Special Research streaks, without any risk of it running away.
It also comes with strong IVs, too, as if the Pokémon was appearing in a Raid encounter or Egg. It always appears at level 15, which is the same for all mystery Pokémon caught from Field Research rewards.
If you're curious, here is all the Research Breakthrough rewards so far:
Research Breakthrough rewards from 2018 to 2020:
- April 2018: Moltres reward and Fire-themed Field Research
- May 2018: Zapdos reward and Electric-themed Field Research
- June 2018: Articuno reward and Ice / Water-themed Field Research
- July 2018: Snorlax reward and Kanto-themed Field Research
- August 2018: Raikou reward and Electric-themed Field Research
- September 2018: Entei reward and Fire-themed Field Research
- October 2018: Suicune reward and Water-themed Field Research
- November 2018: Shedinja reward and Bug-themed Field Research
- December 2018: Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Entei, Raikou and Suicune reward
- January to February 2019: Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Entei, Raikou, Suicune, Ho-Oh and Lugia reward
- March to April 2019: Entei, Raikou, Suicune, Ho-Oh, Lugia, Regirock, Regice and Registeel reward
- May to June 2019: Ho-Oh, Lugia, Latios and Latias reward
- July to August 2019: Latios, Latias, Kyogre and Groudon reward
- September to October 2019: Flower crown Eevee reward
- November to December 2019: Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Kyogre and Groundon reward
- January 2020: Lapras that knows Ice Shard and Ice Beam
- February 2020: Woobat
- March 2020: Ferroseed
- April 2020: Alolan Exeggutor
- May 2020: Shinx
Finally, the question is - when do the special reward Pokémon change in your Research Breakthrough progress? It's when you claim the reward for your final Field Research task.
So, you can complete the task, but just don't claim the reward for that task before 1pm PST / 9pm UK time of the first of the month, as doing so will activate the arrival of the Special Research reward at the top of the screen.
If it's before then, it'll be the reward for the month before (so in October, this was Suicune). Wait until after, it'll be the next month's (so in November, this is Shedinja).
To clarify further, this is when you complete the task, not open it. Even if you then open it after the change, it'll be the prior month's Pokémon. To be safe, wait until it's the new month if you want to get the latest creature.
The Season of Heritage continues in 2022, along with the XP Challenge and a refreshed Go Battle League. Ongoing are Arlo, Cliff, Sierra counters and Giovanni counters. The major updates in the previous year include a level cap increase, the introduction of XL Candy, boosts to some XP sources and the addition of Platinum Medals.
What are Special Research quests?
Special Research quests, meanwhile, are story-based questlines with unique rewards. Unlike Field Research quests, these are fixed objectives that every player will face, and appear in the game infrequently.
Our A Mythical Discovery explains the eight steps required to unlock Mew, which includes finding specific Pokémon, participating in Raid and Gym battles, and reaching a certain Trainer level.
The arrival of Gen 2's Celebi suggests this is how other Mythicals - such as, we assume, Gen 3's Jirachi - will be released in the game, but as we've now seen with Spiritomb they won't always be restricted to Mythical Pokémon only.
Everything else you need to know about Research quests in Pokémon Go
Though the quest features are well explained in the game, there's some nuance that will help you get the most out of each objective you undertake.
- Completing one of the Special Research objectives will not add a daily stamp to your Research Breakthrough progress - it must be from a Field Research quest instead.
- You can cancel and complete as many Field Research quests as you want per day.
- It's possible to have multiple of the same Field Quest at once, and complete them all at the same time.
- Pokémon encounters from Research quests always feature Level 15 Pokémon, with the 66 per cent to 100 per cent IV spreads you also find in Raid or Egg encounters, and are unaffected by the weather.
- Certain Special Research quests (also known as Mew steps) will be automatically completed if you complete their requirements since they are impossible to 'repeat', such as reaching a certain Trainer or medal level.
- You can spin the same PokéStop for Stop-spinning quests, and there is no difference between Gym Discs and PokéStop Discs when completing spin quests - though Gym Discs don't count towards "new Pokéstop" quests.
- You don't have to 'view' a quest in the quest screen to complete it, so if you don't have time to check what it is (if you're on a bus and there are PokéStops and Pokémon to catch quickly, for example) then it can wait - and if it's the right type of quest, you might have started work on it by the time you check it.
- Pokémon Go Plus can be used to collect quests from PokéStops and complete objectives.
- The mystery Pokémon you can catch after completing certain Field Research quests have the same high-end IV range as Egg and Gym Pokémon.
- You have to catch the mystery Pokémon in order to clear the research from your quest log - you can run away and come back, but you need to catch it to clear the quest, even if it's a rubbish Pokémon. Fleeing and trying again won't reset the Pokémon's stats, either - once it spawns, they're fixed.
- You can "cheese" the "Battle in X number of Raids" quests, by deliberately dodging your way through them until the timer runs out and retrying repeatedly. This is a great way to save on Raid Passes and complete the quest quickly, if you don't mind killing some time. Note that EX Raids do also count towards Raid quests, too.
- Catching evolved forms of Pokémon does count towards "Catch X number of Y Pokémon" quests. So I could catch a Gloom for a "Catch 2 Oddish" quest and it would count.
- Similarly, throwing better-tierd throws than required in ball-throwing quests counts too. So throwing a Great or Excellent Throw will count towards "Make 5 Nice Throws".
- You can miss days and not lose your streak of Stamps - it's just a cap of one Stamp that can be earned per day, not a "streak" that can be lost by missing a day, like the ones for spinning a Pokéstop or catching a Pokémon every day.
- Dittos count towards the types they're disguised as too - so a Ditto disguised as a Pidge will count towards "Catch 3 Pidgey" quests.
- Hatching and evolving Pokémon doesn't count towards catching tasks, you have to physically catch them in the wild or from Raid or mystery Pokémon encounters.
- You can indeed work towards two quests at once - so landing a Great Throw on a Pidgey will both count towards "Catch 3 Pidgey" and "Make 3 Great Throws" quests.
- You can delay claiming rewards for both Field and Special Research, although they'll need to be cleared before you get new ones. Delaying the rewards for you Special Research in particular is a good idea, as some of the later requests reward thousands of XP - it might be worth popping a Lucky Egg before claiming them all togetehr.
Thanks to the Silph Road subreddit for filling in the gaps on some of the above.