Guide for Writing Empirical Research Papers
The steps concerning the methodology used in the production of knowledge is a subject that every researcher must know. Over the centuries of development of science, great researchers have been concerned with conceptualizing and discussing their research methods.
Whether in the area of human sciences, art or biological, the investigation of reality and our possibility of interacting and intervening in it is carried out through analysis methods and techniques. This is because scientific knowledge is open to demonstration and proof. Thus, rigor with the methods and techniques employed to investigate facts or phenomena of reality is necessary.
When it comes to research methods, it is common for many students to be confused and feel lost. This article will talk about empirical research: from its concept to its application in scientific research today. Check out the guide below.
Classifications of academic research
One of the major concerns of researchers who are beginning to develop their research is about their studies’ methodological issues. The explanation of the appropriate procedures and their specific characteristics is essential for conducting good research. Over time, authors have looked at the classification of academic research and its methods in different ways. One of the most common ways of classifying research is its objectives and the technical procedures adopted to carry it out. Regarding the objectives, the research is divided into three groups: exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory research. About procedures, we find bibliographic, documentary, experimental research, case studies, and surveys, to mention a few.
Other researchers posit that another classification of academic research is about the nature of the work. This classification gives rise to at least four types of research. They include:
It is a type of research dedicated to constructing concepts, ideas, immediate terms, ideologies, and theoretical insights on other topics already discussed in science. As the name says, theoretical research remains essentially in the field of theory. Therefore, it does not carry out an immediate intervention in the reality in which we live. However, this does not mean that it is less important or less complex than research reflected in practical activities! Theoretical research has an important role in creating conditions that will provide for the intervention of further research.
Other striking theoretical research features are its conceptual rigor, logical performance, explanatory capacity, accurate analysis, and diverse argumentation.
Methodological research focuses on investigating methods and procedures adopted in academic investigations. In this way, this type of research investigates the scientific production itself: its paradigms, methods, dominant techniques over time, and even its crises.
While theoretical research is linked to the construction and conceptualization of ideas, practical research turns its construction of knowledge into practice; that is, to carry out interventions in reality. But without abandoning, of course, methodological rigor.
And finally, empirical research is dedicated to the treatment of what is perceived in reality. The empiricist model bases the construction of academic knowledge on the sensitive world’s experience, from the perception of a given reality, from the senses (sight, touch, hearing). Thus, from an empiricist perspective, it is not possible to study an objective when it does not present responses that are perceptible by our physical senses. Therefore, the objects of study of empirical research are all those that, when investigated, present noticeable answers.
To receive these answers, it is necessary to carry out experiments within the studied reality. From these answers, it is possible to analyze, compare, and reach formulations and other conclusions. In this way, empirical science is based on the assumption that laws govern nature. And the law becomes scientific as we can demonstrate it, that is, through an experiment that results in responses perceptible by our senses.
Empirical research offers greater concreteness to the arguments, however tenuous the factual basis may be. Empirical research is not built on experiments; the analysis of empirical data and the construction of knowledge depend on the theoretical framework. Therefore, it is research that combines theory and practice in a very specific idea of building science.
However, although these types of research are different from each other, academic research need not follow purely one or the other. In practice, when conducting his research, the researcher mixes all types.
The empiricist model in science
Empiricism is not a new model for looking at science. In the European Middle Ages, it was proposed in a movement that questioned theoretical speculation as the only way to do science. At first, the idea of conducting research based on empirical observation, experimental tests, and quantitative measurement caused a real revolution in science. From empiricism, scientists began to seek practical results for their research. Countless data collection and analysis techniques were created from empiricism. Its development gave rise to the scientific methodology, that is, to study the methods used in the investigations of science.
Its method of investigation is induction, elaborated by the philosopher Francis Bacon. This method considers the circumstances and the frequency at which a phenomenon manifests itself to conclude it. Thus, the phenomenon is only observed after concrete cases of it are observed in nature. Another important point of induction is that, in this method, it is possible to reach probable and not definitive conclusions about a fact or phenomenon. This is the opposite case of the deductive method, previously developed by René Descartes. In it, a theory is generalized and accepted after the verification of particular cases.
The step by step of an empirical research
Planning and organization are essential for conducting research, regardless of the method chosen to carry it out. Planning the stages of a survey allows the researcher to dodge obstacles that may appear along the way. And with that, he will be able to do even better research.
As empirical research involves observation and experiments, planning activities is even more important!
1. Define the research problem
All research begins with the definition and delimitation of a topic to be investigated. At this point, the researcher points out the problem that one seeks to solve based on the research and what are its objectives when carrying out it.
2. Perform research and theoretical foundation on the subject
Academic research is based on the deepening of previously developed knowledge. Therefore, the theoretical foundation on the chosen theme is essential for any research, including empirical research!
Start your search by searching for sources in libraries and digital archives from the related keywords. Read the abstracts available at the beginning of each paper and eliminate those that do not fit your research proposal. Then, make a complete and critical reading of the selected sources and remove interesting reflections from them to support your research.
3. Create hypothesis
Hypothesis are assumptions that try to answer the problem raised in a survey. They are created in the first moments of research elaboration, before experimentation, data collection, and analysis. The work carried out by the research may confirm or deny the established hypothesis.
4. Describe the methodology and details of data collection and analysis
As we mentioned earlier, there are different types of academic research. Each corresponds to a different way of doing research, with different data collection and analysis types, for example.
The researcher must justify the importance of studying the chosen theme from a particular research methodology. The strategies chosen for conducting the research are also described, such as the scope and parameters that will guide the collection and analysis of data. Depending on the research question, it is also important to define the samples and variables involved.
5. Collect and analyze the data obtained
This is the stage that many researchers consider “research itself.” However, it is just one more part of a whole that is considered academic research. At this moment, the experiment is carried out (under the techniques and methods mentioned above). Afterward, the researcher will process this data to obtain information that will lead him to confirm or deny his initial hypothesis.
In the last stage of the research, it is time to look back at work done. Present the results obtained, their relationship with the theory studied, and the researcher’s suggestions for a better understanding of the subject (and further research).
We hope to have answered your questions about empirical research with this post. Keep following our content for more articles like this and tips on how to prepare your academic papers!