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Research Articles and Peer Review: Glossary


There are many types of research and each type of research can utilize different methods for collecting information. This glossary can be utilized to clarify the research terms you may come across during your search. In addition, this glossary is a good resource for refining questions you may have of your professor regarding the assignment.

Terms to understand

Case Studies

Examines in-depth the practices or trends of a single or limited number of groups. According to the Second Edition of the Dictionary of Sociology edited by Gordon Marshal, case studies include "descriptive reports on typical, illustrative, or deviant examples; descriptions of good practices in policy research; evaluations of policies after implementation in an organization; studies that focus on extreme or strategic cases; the rigorous test of a well-defined hypothesis through the carefully selected contrasting cases; and studies of natural experiments."

Empirical Studies

Research based on critical evaluation through observation or experimentation.

Experimental Research

Examines the relationship between two variables. This type of research conducts experiments on test and control groups to test a hypothesis about the relationship between two variables.

Historical or Interpretive Research

Studies By examining past events and procedures, this type of study attempts to predict future events or make suggestions for future actions. Types of historical or interpretive research studies include: biographical; histories of institutions and organizations; investigation of sources and influences; editing and translating historical documents; studying the history of ideas; or compiling bibliographies.

Qualitative Research

Observes the experiences of a particular group and attempts to understand the actions and reactions of the group. Field studies and ethnographic techniques are examples of this type of research.

Survey Research Studies

Examines small groups of the population in order to learn about the larger population. Observation of the smaller group produces data about the larger population. This data is used to predict future actions or results.

User Studies

Research that evaluates the way in which systems or institutions are utilized and how the needs of users can be addressed.