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EDU 1012: Education Inquiry: Understanding Research

Resources for Inquiry 1 students

Quantitative vs Qualitative

Research studies are usually either "quantitative" or "qualitative."

Quantitative research: An experiment is conducted from which data are collected and quantified in some fashion, i.e. counted, analyzed numerically (e.g. effectiveness of a policy).

Quantitative Buzzwords: Compare, Assess, Evaluate, Measure, Test

Qualitative research: The data collected is more descriptive of people's beliefs, attitudes, etc. and is gathered through methods such as interviews and focus groups.

Qualitative Buzzwords: Identify, Explore, Describe, Explain

Sample Articles:


D'Amico, A., & Guastaferro, T. (2017). Emotional and meta-emotional intelligence as predictors of adjustment problems in students with specific learning disorders. International Journal of Emotional Education, 9(2), 17-30. 


Pisarik, C., & Whelchel, T. (2018). Academic Relevance: College Students' Perspective. International Journal Of Teaching And Learning In Higher Education, 30(1), 26-35.

Mixed methods

Selekman, J. (2017). Students With Chronic Conditions: Experiences and Challenges of Regular Education Teachers. Journal Of School Nursing, 33(4), 307-315. doi:10.1177/1059840516674053

Literature review

McConnell, D. A., Chapman, L., Czajka, C. D., Jones, J. P., Ryker, K. D., & Wiggen, J. (2017). Instructional utility and learning efficacy of common active learning strategies. Journal of Geoscience Education, 65(4), 604-625.

Original Research

An empirical research article reports research based on observations or experiments. The research may use quantitative research methods, which generate numerical data and might seek to establish causal relationships between two or more variables. Or the research may use qualitative methods, objectively and critically analyzing behaviors, beliefs, feelings, or values--generally without analyzing numerical data.


Articles that discuss original research usually have the following format:


  • Title
  • Abstract
    • The abstract provides a summary of the article and should mention a study, an observation, an analysis or a number of participants or subjects.
  • Introduction / Literature Review
    • This section discusses the previous, relevant research in this particular area of study.  It places the current study in context.
  • Methods / Methodology
    • The methodology section explains the methods used in the current experiment so it can be replicated. 
  • Results
    • The results section lists the results of the authors' study.  This section often contains tables and charts.
  • Discussion / Conclusion
    • The discussion section is where the authors get to put their results in context and discuss why their research is significant. 
  • References
    • All peer reviewed journal articles have a list of references at the end.These are the studies to which the authors referred in the literature review.