From Scribbr
"Empirical research is research that is based on observation and measurement of phenomena, as directly experienced by the researcher. The data thus gathered may be compared against a theory or hypothesis, but the results are still based on real life experience. The data gathered is all primary data, although secondary data from a literature review may form the theoretical background."
Emerald Publishing's guide to conducting empirical research identifies a number of common elements to empirical research:
A research question, which will determine research objectives.
A particular and planned design for the research, which will depend on the question and which will find ways of answering it with appropriate use of resources.
The gathering of primary data, which is then analysed.
A particular methodology for collecting and analysing the data, such as an experiment or survey.
The limitation of the data to a particular group, area or time scale, known as a sample [emphasis added]: for example, a specific number of employees of a particular company type, or all users of a library over a given time scale. The sample should be somehow representative of a wider population.
The ability to recreate the study and test the results. This is known as reliability.
The ability to generalize from the findings to a larger sample and to other situations.
If you see these elements in a research article, you can feel confident that you have found empirical research. Emerald's guide goes into more detail on each element.
Emerald Publishing (n.d.). How to... conduct empirical research. https://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/how-to/research-methods/conduct-empirical-research-l
When collecting and analyzing data, quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative research deals with words and meanings. Both are important for gaining different kinds of knowledge.
Quantitative and qualitative data can be collected using various methods. It is important to use a data collection method that will help answer your research question(s).
Many data collection methods can be either qualitative or quantitative. For example, in surveys, observations or case studies, your data can be represented as numbers (e.g. using rating scales or counting frequencies) or as words (e.g. with open-ended questions or descriptions of what you observe).
However, some methods are more commonly used in one type or the other.
A rule of thumb for deciding whether to use qualitative or quantitative data is:
For most research topics you can choose a qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods approach. Which type you choose depends on, among other things, whether you’re taking an inductive vs. deductive research approach; your research question(s); whether you’re doing experimental, correlational, or descriptive research; and practical considerations such as time, money, availability of data, and access to respondents.
Streefkerk, R. (2022, February 7). Qualitative vs. quantitative research: Differences, examples & methods. Scibbr. https://www.scribbr.com/methodology/qualitative-quantitative-research/
Qualitative or quantitative data by itself can’t prove or demonstrate anything, but has to be analyzed to show its meaning in relation to the research questions. The method of analysis differs for each type of data.
Quantitative data is based on numbers. Simple math or more advanced statistical analysis is used to discover commonalities or patterns in the data. The results are often reported in graphs and tables.
Applications such as Excel, SPSS, or R can be used to calculate things like:
Qualitative data is more difficult to analyze than quantitative data. It consists of text, images or videos instead of numbers.
Some common approaches to analyzing qualitative data include:
Streefkerk, R. (2022, February 7). Qualitative vs. quantitative research: Differences, examples & methods. Scibbr. https://www.scribbr.com/methodology/qualitative-quantitative-research/
Quantitative Methods | Mixed Methods | Qualitative Methods |
---|---|---|
Pre-determined methods | Both predetermined and emerging | Emerging methods |
Instrument based questions | Both open- and closed-ended questions | Open-ended questions |
Performance data, attitude data, observational data, and census data | Multiple forms of data drawing on all possibilities | Interview data, observation data, document data, and audiovisual data |
Statistical analysis | Statistical and text analysis | Text and image analysis |
Statistical Interpretation | Across databases interpretation | Themes, patterns interpretation |
Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2018). Research design : qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (Fifth). SAGE Publications.