EMPIRICAL WORK – GUIDELINES AND TIPS FOR STRUCTURE

Hypotheses, operationalization, falsifiability – we’ll show you how empirical work goes right.

Tinker questionnaire? Children’s. No way! Empirical research is not an easy task, especially when faced with it for the first time. Because this is not just a question to think of a few questions and get answered by a few friends, but a scientifically sound work. What you have to consider in the implementation and which terms are important, you read here.

The basics of empirical work

In simple terms, empirical research is about the collection or gathering of information through various tools. Even today it is disputed whether empirical data can confirm or refute theories. It is about the objective, reproducible verification of theories, usually by questioning, observation or measurement. There are two types of investigations: The descriptive investigation is about the description of real phenomena. In the theory or hypothesis study, the goal is the empirical verification of theories and hypotheses.

The performance of an empirical work

In the beginning you have to clear up some preliminary considerations for you (and your professor). Here are 4 W questions: What is being investigated? Who is being examined? What is being investigated? How is it investigated? After the first considerations (we are almost in the planning phase), the literature search is also the first one. What is the state of research? How extensively has the topic or problem been dealt with so far? This results in rough, open questions, from which you develop hypotheses. Scientific hypotheses must fulfill three quality criteria: they must be operationalizable, meaning that they can be made measurable. They must be consistent and very important: they must be falsifiable. Only certain aspects of a problem can be examined, so you have to select. The keywords here are awareness and exploitation interest. You can not investigate everything at once, you have to specify.

Then the study is operationalized. You choose the appropriate examination method (survey, observation, measurement), the examination field (the sample, for example the participants of the survey) and consider an evaluation procedure. With these preliminary considerations, the investigation is carried out, the data is collected. The analysis then follows the data analysis. This usually happens with electronic analysis programs such as SPSS.

presentation of results

When you put your results on paper, it’s about guiding the reader through the investigation. So think about a meaningful structure! In the introduction you give an overview of the state of research, your questions and preliminary considerations. In the main part you explain in principle what you have done. You name and explain your hypotheses, you explain why you used which methods and which subjects you questioned. Your results will be presented to you, preferably on the basis of graphics and tables. But most important is actually the discussion and the interpretation of your results. Not only what you have found out is important, but above all, how the results came about and what they mean. You need to review your hypotheses and explain why they were correct or why your assumptions have not arrived.

Formally you write this work like a “normal” homework or bachelor thesis. With cover page, table of contents, introduction, main part and conclusion, bibliography and illustration index. More precise specifications you always get from the professor. You should consult with them anyway if it hangs somewhere or if you realize that the work is going in the wrong direction. Because here: mistakes that are made early, can be hard to iron out during or after the investigation.