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Empirical Approach

The empirical approach attempts to answer questions though systematic collection and analysis of data; scientific method.

Observational Studies

Observational (descriptive) studies attempt to describe social reality or provide facts about some group, practice, or event; Whom, where, and when.

Explanatory Studies

Explanatory studies attempt to explain cause-and-effect relationships and to provide information on why certain events do or do not occur.

Quantitative Research

With quantitative research, the goal is scientific objectivity, and the focus is on data that can be measured numerically.

Qualitative Research

With qualitative research, interpretive description (words) rather than statistics (numbers) is used to analyze underlying meanings and patterns of social relationships.

Conventional Research Model

1) Select and define the research problem
2) Review previous research
3) Formulate hypothesis
4) Develop the research design
5) Collect & analyze data
6) Draw conclusions and report the findings


A statement of the relationship between two or more concepts.


A variable is any concept with measurable traits or characteristics that can change or vary from one person, time, situation, or society to another; the observable and/or measurable counterparts of concepts.

Independent Variable

Presumed o cause or determine a dependent variable.

Dependent Variable

Assumed to depend on or be caused by the independent variables.

Operational Definition

An operational definition is an explanation of an abstract concept in terms of observational features that are specific enough to measure the variable.

Cross-Sectional Studies

Cross-sectional studies are based on observations that take place at a single point in time; these studies focus on behavior or responses at a specific moment.

Random Sampling

Every member of an entire population being studied has the same chance of being selected.

Probability Sampling

Participants are deliberately chosen because they have specific characteristics.


The extent to which a study or research instrument accurately measures what it is supposed to measure.


The extend to which a study or research instrument yields consistent results.

Qualitative Research Unique Features

1) Begins with a general approach rather than a highly detailed plan.
2) Decide when the literature review and theory application take place.
3) Study presents a detailed view of topic.
4) Access to people or other resources to provide data is crucial.
5) Appropriate research methods are important for acquiring useful qualitative data.


A poll in which the researcher gathers facts or attempts to determine the relationships among facts.

Self-Administered Questionnaire (strengths)

They are relatively simple and inexpensive to administer, they allow for rapid data collection and analysis, and they permit respondents to remain anonymous.

Secondary Analysis

Researchers use existing material and analyze data that were originally collected by others.

Experimental Group

Contains the subjects who are exposed to an independent variable.

Control Group

Contains the subjects who are not exposed to the independent variable.

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