The anomaly survey missions that are part of the exploration repeatables are among the most maligned parts of the game. Some folks just don't get why they're there. However, I enjoy them because they are quick and easy and I can just enjoy piloting my ship through a benign region of space. This morning in the Hromi Cluster, I had one mission defeating Klingons on a space station. For whatever reason (that I suck comes to mind), I could not get the last group. Finally after dying quite a few times, my away team and I synced up and we beat the baddies. It was very nice to go the the next anomaly and find that it was a cataloging mission.
There is a ton of precedent for this sort of mission in canon. In Star Trek VI alone, the Excelsior was just finishing up a three-year mission (her first) cataloging gaseous anomalies. And this was one of the Federation Flagships, with the legendary Hikaru Sulu in command. And the Enterprise-A was involved, too. Uhura pointed out that they had special gas sensing equipment aboard that they then used to track General Chang's Bird-of-Prey while it was cloaked.
If anything, the quiet "research" quests are the ones most in keeping with the spirit of Star Trek. Not that I would want to do them for three years straight. But then again, that's a lot of time in the Holodeck.