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Empirical Studies

What are empirical studies?

Empirical studies are studies based on actual and objective observation or experimentation.  Descriptions and results of empirical studies are published in scholarly/peer-reviewed journals.  Literature reviews, on the other hand, are summaries of published research on a particular topic and are not empirical studies.  

Empirical studies contain these elements (wording may vary):

  1. Abstract: brief description of the study.
  2. Introduction: hypothesis, rationale for the study, and literature review; provides the context for the study.
  3. Method: how the research was conducted, including who the participants were, the design of the study, what the participants did and what measures were used.
  4. Results: summary and analysis of the outcomes of the study’s measures; usually includes charts, graphs and tables.
  5. Discussion or Conclusion: interpretation, implications and limitations of the study.
  6. References: bibliography of material cited in the article.