I am not an expert in the field of operations research so I can not be as specific as you might like, but I will tell you what I can.
This is an interdisciplinary field (so it does not belong to any one field of study). It attempts to take advanced methods of analysis and apply them to real world problems. Its goal is to make various kinds of processes run as efficiently as possible.
A few issues that operations research might study include:
- Designing factories so they can be as efficient as possible
- Setting up the network for a mobile phone company so as to get the most coverage for the least expenditure
If you want to learn more, perhaps you might consult some professional journals in this area. You might start with one called "Operational Research."
Operations research (OR), also called management science, refers to a collection of analytical techniques used for optimum decision making in management and other fields of human activity. OR makes heavy uses of mathematical and graphical techniques. However the term is now used to include other analytical techniques also.
The method of operation research consists of developing a logical model of reality, and then manipulating this model to understand the impact of different variables impacting the reality, and based on this understanding selecting an appropriate decision. The OR model of reality may be represented in any suitable forms such as mathematical expression, network diagram, graph or any other physical model.
Some of the most common techniques of OR are linear programming, project networks, various statistical techniques, simulation, transportation models, replacement models, production planning systems, and inventory models including economic order quantity (EOQ) formula.
Operational Research (as it was first called when developed in the UK during World War 2) is the discipline of applying appropriate analytical techniques to help make better decisions. As previous respondents have said, the applications of O.R. are very broad - you can see a description of O.R. and some examples (including a video) at www.LearnAboutOR.com with further examples at www.scienceofbetter.co.uk
Good luck with your studies