Purpose: explain, gain insight and understanding of phenomena through intensive collection and study of narrative data
Approach: inductive, value-laden/subjective, holistic, process-oriented
Hypotheses: tentative, evolving, based on the particular study
Lit. Review: limited, does not always heavily influence a particular study
Setting: naturalistic, as much as possible
Sampling: for the purpose, not necessarily representative, for in-depth understanding
Measurement: narrative, ongoing
Design and Method: flexible, specified only generally;
Non-intervention, minimal disturbance, such as historical, ethnographic, or case studies
Data Collection: document collection, participant observation, informal interviews, field notes
Data Analysis: raw data is words/ ongoing, involves synthesis
Data Interpretation: tentative, reviewed on ongoing basis, speculative
Purpose: explain, predict or control phenomena through focused collection and analysis of numberical data
Approach: deductive; tries to be value-free/has objectives/out-come oriented
Hypotheses: Specific, testable, and stated prior to study
Lit. Review: extensive, may significantly influence a particular study
Setting: controlled to the degree possible
Sampling: uses largest manageable random/randomized sample, to allow generalization of results to larger populations
Measurement: standardized, numberical, "at the end"
Design and Method: Strongly structured, specified in detail in advance;
Involves intervention, manipulation, and control groups; descriptive, correlational, experimental
Data Collection: via instruments, surveys, experiments, semi-structured formal interviews, tests, or questionnaires
Data Analysis: raw data is numbers; at end of study, usually statistical
Data Interpretation: formulated at end of study; stated as a degree of certainty
Adapted and expanded from a handout by Suzy Westenkirchner. Used with permission. Necia Parker-Gibson
See also Trochim, William M. The Research Methods Knowledge Base, 2nd Edition. Accessed from <http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/> (version current as of October 20, 2006).on November 1, 2010.
Empirical Research: General Structure of Journal Articles
Handout by Esther Grassian, 2003.
Li, V. O. K. (1999) “Hints on Writing Technical Papers and Making Presentations.” IEEE Transactions on Education. 42 (2):134-137.
E. Grassian 16 May 2003