Empirical research requires observation or actual experience that is able to be measured; the resulting empirical evidence documents the observations and can be analyzed quantitatively or qualitatively.
Characteristics to look for in empirically based research:
Identifies a problem, population, or research question under study
Methodology is stated
Defines the group or issue being studied
May be quantitative or qualitative [always check with your professor to see if there is a preference between the two types for your research articles]
May include tests or surveys (embedded, as an appendix, or referred to by Proper Name)
May be reproducible; to be replicated or adapted to a new study
Some databases have a filter or advanced search limiter to focus results on empirical research. See the database descriptions on the Where to Search tab.
If a filter/limiter is not available, enter keywords to match on appropriate content and/or to look for these terms in the summary abstract or article itself:
|Research Type||Definitition||Title Words||Methods||Data||Role of the Researcher|
|Quantitative||Research based on traditional scientific methods, which generates numerical data and usually seeks to establish causal relationships between two or more variables, using statistical methods to test the strength and significance of the relationships.||Case Control Study, Clinical Trial, Cohort Study, Randomized Controlled Trial, Statistical, Structured-Questionnaire||Starts with a testable hypothesis that determines methodology, Collects and analyzes data, Uses mathematical and statistical methods to analyze data.||Measurable, numbers, statistics||Objective: Separate, Observes but does not participate.|
|Qualitative||Research that seeks to provide understanding of human experience, perceptions, motivations, intentions, and behaviours based on description and observation and utilizing a naturalistic interpretative approach to a subject and its contextual setting.||Ethnographic study, Field notes, Field Research, Focus group, Observation, Open ended, Phenomenological||Focus Groups, Interviews, Recording behavior, Unstructured observation||Idea, interpretive, Narrative Description and analysis, Text-based, Word analysis||Subjective: involved, participant observer|