Research Stations are a type of Starbase that provides research to your empire. They come in three types, matching the three research categories.
In addition to the minimum components which every starbase requires, a Research Station needs one Research Lab that matches its type. Additional Research Labs will, of course, provide additional research as well as access to scientist bonuses.
Certain locations may have a bonus to a specific research category. Any Research Station located there will provide that bonus, so long as it has an appropriate Research Lab. It should be noted, however, that your empire will ONLY get the highest bonus available at the time, for each category. For example: say you have a research station doing weapons research at location "Goober Major 6" with a 5% location bonus and a scientist with a 10% bonus in the weapons category, while you have another weapons research base at "Goober Minor 2" with a 12% location bonus and no scientist. The game will add the scientist and station (5 + 10) for 15% which will be weapons research bonus the one your empire gets - so these bonuses are NOT cumulative... you do not get 5+10+12. (N.B. You could move the scientist to the other station and end up with a 17% bonus. It may not mean much in the beginning, but this can provide you with a crucial edge in tech later in the game.)