The scientific research writing method is difficult to understand for many students. It is even more difficult to choose the right methods for a specific research project correctly.
The students create numerous academic papers at each stage of their studies. Nevertheless, they do not understand what the choice of method depends on. First, it is recommended to clarify what it means to conduct an empirical study.
An overview of the empirical research writing process
Research is always associated with the experiment, analysis, systematization, and evaluation of the data. The experiments cannot only be carried out in the laboratories. Accordingly, the research data and results can be presented in numerals and facts, descriptive elements, and other work information.
The research process has a specific structure. It is different in each subject, but each study contains the following stages:
- Topic finding;
- Literature search;
- Problem definition;
- Determination of conception;
- Question and choice of method;
- Practical part or experiment;
- Data collection and evaluation;
- Data interpretation;
The choice of scientific work methods, in other words, the research tools, depends on the question. A researcher should determine what questions to answer in the study and what methods to use in the process. Accordingly, a distinction is made between inductive and deductive research and between qualitative and quantitative research methods.
What methods are suitable for inductive research writing?
If you want to develop a new theory or new scientific model on a known theoretical basis, you should carry out an inductive study.
It is believed that based on an observed individual case, one can create the hypothesis and draw conclusions for similar cases. Should use qualitative research methods for this type of study.
This type of method is based on observation and description. The thoughts, opinions, and ideas of other people who appear as interviewers are important. It allows the research object to be examined more deeply and the research problem to be studied in detail.
We can say that qualitative research writing is based on the collection and analysis of non-numerical data. The qualitative methods do not focus on the statistical assessments and measurements but understand and interpret empirical data. Such measures represent these methods:
- Group discussion;
- Expert interview;
- Qualitative content analysis;
These methods are used in direct communication with the groups of interviewers. The data is fresh, and you can get it firsthand. But it is not so easy to gather a group of the right people. These measures are very often time-consuming and costly.
Quantitative methods and their principles
Quantitative research is usually combined with various surveys. These are based on the use of structured closed surveys. Besides, they are carried out in writing or orally. A large number of respondents take part in these surveys.
The quantitative study has a well-defined format. People are given a list of specific questions they should answer. Then the researcher carries out statistical processing of the collected data through ordered procedures. The researcher analyzes, systematizes, and evaluates the information.
The quantitative methods also make it possible to check the validity of the data obtained through qualitative research. One uses the surveys with the use of statistical methods of samples, observations, and experiments.
The results of the surveys are presented in numerical values and percentages. You can easily compare and contrast these results. This is a statistical test of the relationships between various characteristics, properties, and features.
Quantitative research is only effective if it meets three important quality criteria: objectivity, validity, and reliability. It means that different researchers must achieve similar results under similar research conditions. It is also about whether the survey was created correctly and can provide real results.
How can you use both types of methods in combination?
In modern social science studies, attempts are made to make optimal use of both types of methods. It is not uncommon for these to be used in combination. It is related to the researcher’s striving for deeper, more effective, and varied research.
On the one hand, the quantitative methods guarantee fixed data and predictability. It is easier to operate with statistical data. On the other hand, it isn’t easy to interpret qualitative characteristics such as people’s deep motivations or assessments. Because of this, it becomes apparent that mixing methods is sometimes a necessity.
The combination of qualitative focus groups and a quantitative survey serves as an example of the effective use of research methods. This can significantly improve the quantitative questionnaires. It also allows the first hypotheses to be formulated and the research objectives to be specified more precisely.
The qualitative and quantitative methods are particularly often used in sociology, philology, and psychology. Research on society and its particularities is the focus in these specialist areas.