Empirical research is based on observed and measured phenomena and derives knowledge from actual experience rather than from theory or belief.
How do you know if a study is empirical? Read the subheadings within the article, book, or report and look for a description of the research "methodology." Ask yourself: Could I recreate this study and test these results?
Key characteristics to look for:
Another hint: some scholarly journals use a specific layout, called the "IMRaD" format, to communicate empirical research findings. Such articles typically have 4 components:
|Qualitative Research||Quantitative Research|
|Understanding and interpreting social interactions and behavior||Testing theories, describing with statistics, and making predictions|
|Specially chosen small groups||Randomly selected large groups|
|Observations and interviews||Experiments and surveys|
|Open-ended questions||Controlled responses|
|Narrative report||Statistical results|
Qualitative Methods - Involve a researcher describing kinds of characteristics of people and events. Qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them. Examples of qualitative research include:
Quantitative Methods - Focus attention on measurements and amounts (more and less, larger and smaller, often and seldom, similar and different) of the characteristics displayed by the people and events that the researcher studies. Examples of qualitative research include:
Mixed Methods - Involve collecting, analyzing and mixing both qualitative and quantitative data in a single study or a series of studies.