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Psychology 124: Empirical Research Essay

What is Empirical Research?

 

Empirical Research consists of experiments that rely on observation and measurement to provide evidence about phenomena. Empirical research employs rigorous methods to test out theories and hypotheses (expectations) using real data instead of hunches or anecdotal observations. This type of research is easily identifiable as it always consists of the following pieces of information:

  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References

This Guide will serve to offer a basic understanding on how to approach empirical research via Reading the Empirical Research Paper, Designing Empirical Research, and Writing an Empirical Paper. 

Qualitative Research

Qualitative Research is primarily exploratory research. It is used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. It provides insights into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative research. Qualitative Research is also used to uncover trends in thought and opinions, and dive deeper into the problem. Qualitative data collection methods vary using unstructured or semi-structured techniques. Some common methods include focus groups (group discussions), individual interviews, and participation/observations. The sample size is typically small, and respondents are selected to fulfil a given quota.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative Research is used to quantify the problem by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into usable statistics. It is used to quantify attitudes, opinions, behaviors, and other defined variables – and generalize results from a larger sample population. Quantitative Research uses measurable data to formulate facts and uncover patterns in research. Quantitative data collection methods are much more structured than Qualitative data collection methods. Quantitative data collection methods include various forms of surveys – online surveys, paper surveys, mobile surveys and kiosk surveys, face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, longitudinal studies, website interceptors, online polls, and systematic observations.