Empirical research articles document a study that is either quantitative, qualitative or a mixed methods research design. When authors write an empirical research article they typically follow a format that looks like this: Introduction/Background, Literature Review, Methodology, Findings, and Discussion. The authors recount literature on their specific research topic and describe in a systematic manner how the data was collected and then analyzed in order to answer the research question(s). Once the data is analyzed, they present the findings. Finally, they interpret the findings using past literature to help understand the findings.
What we broadly describe as a “quantitative study” includes numerical summaries that involve descriptive statistics (averages, standard deviations), correlations, and inferential statistics (such as T-tests, Chi Squares and other kinds of analyses). These kinds of studies can include certain elements such as per- and post-tests or survey results looking at correlations between variables.
Qualitative articles, on the other hand, use interviews, focus groups, observations, and written answers to questions. Rather than using statistics to summarize the study, these studies look at themes and present the material using words, phrases and often paragraphs to illustrate what they are representing.
To prepare for this assignment, review Week 1’s readings and resources on how to locate an empirical research article using the library’s databases.