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A Wireless Sensor Network is a network of sensors that, senses specified parameter(s) related to environment; processes data locally or in a distributed manner and wirelessly communicates information to central Base Station. The Base Station analyzes information and initiates suitable response if required. Wireless Sensor Network research as a whole suffers a lack of practical application scenarios for which such networks are the best solution. Researchers generally do not emphasize on the application domains they are trying to address. Therefore they cannot accurately assess the efficiency of their proposal because for different application areas there are different technical issues. This paper discusses role of application in research and fleshes out from the literature applications of sensor networks ranging from billion dollar satellites to tiny RF tags. To aid in application led research we demonstrate that different applications take different directions in the design goals. Based on this observation the sensor network design goals and its various directions are characterized. Such explicit design direction works as a framework for discussing and structuring coordinated research (e.g., scrutinizing mutual dependencies between applications, software, hardware and hence avoiding duplicate work). It also provides a conceptual basis for the development of flexible software and hardware frameworks that can be adapted to meet different application needs.