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Research Basics - All Subjects

Montgomery Library's Guide to Research Basics

Quantitative Research

Purpose           Supports a hypothesis through a review of the literature
Aim Provides a statistical model of what the literature presents
Previous Knowledge Researcher already knows what has been discovered
Phase in Process Generally occurs later in the research process
Research Design Designed before research begins
Data-Gathering Data is gathered using tools like surveys or computer programs
Form of Data Data is numerical
Objectivity of Research More objective; researcher measures and analyzes data
Keywords Quantitative, survey, literature review

Qualitative Research


Purpose           Used for exploration, generates a hypothesis
Aim Provides an in-depth description of the research methods to be used
Previous Knowledge Researcher has a general idea of what will be discovered
Phase in Process Usually occurs early in the research process
Research Design Design is developed during research
Data-Gathering Researcher gathers data from interviews, etc.
Form of Data Data takes the form of interviews, videos, artifacts
Objectivity of Research More subjective; researcher interprets events
Keywords Qualitative, methods, results, interviews

Empirical Studies

  • An empirical study is research derived from actual observation or experimentation.
  • The written articles resulting from empirical studies undergo a rigorous review by experts in the field of study prior to being published in journals.
  • After passing this review the articles are published in a scholarly, peer-reviewed, or academic journal.
  • Empirical study articles will generally contain the following features:
    Abstract - This is a summary of the article.
    Introduction - This is often identified as the hypothesis of the study and describes the researcher's intent.           
    Method - A description of how the research was conducted.
    Results - A description of the findings obtained as a result of the research. Most often answers the hypothesis.
    Conclusion - A description of how/if the findings were successful and the impact made as a result.
    References - A detailed listing of all resources cited in the article that support the written work.              
       Keywords for Empirical Studies:
  empirical, experiment, methodology, observation, outcomes, sample size, statistical analysis, study
  Empirical Studies generally employ Mixed Methods Research.


Mixed Methods Research

Mixed Methods Research uses strategies from both qualitative and quantitative research processes to provide a greater understanding of the subject matter.