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*SOCI 8010 Intermediate Sociological Statistics (Gayman): Lit Review?
Empirical?

What is a Literature Review?

According to OWL at Purdue, "Literature reviews are designed to do two things:

  1. Give your readers an overview of sources you have explored while researching a particular topic or idea and
  2. Demonstrate how your research fits into the larger field of study."

Conducting and composing a thorough literature review is a process. It will require you to define and refine your topic, gather basic background information, then search for and locate published books and articles. You might end up researching not only your direct topic, but related threads of research. Once you've found sources, you will have to analyze and synthesize them into review form.

Your literature review will explore findings and trends in the research on your topic, analyzing and synthesizing them into a cohesive review, and will also offer your commentary on any gaps, bias, and additional areas for exploration which you or others might embark on. Your thoughts on the material are essential to the review. You are not merely listing and abstracting all existing research; you are essentially making an argument as to what future research should address in the topic area.

Adapted from S. Steiner

Empirical vs. Non-Empirical Scholarly Articles Tutorial

Tutorial on strategies for discerning whether a scholarly article is EMPIRICAL or not:

 

POLL - Which is Empirical Research?

Here are two article records found in the Sociological Abstracts database - Which one is EMPIRICAL RESEARCH? 

ARTICLE 1:

The Division of Household Labor
Beth Anne Shelton, and John Daphne. Annual Review of Sociology 22 (1996): 299-322.
 
Abstract (summary)

ARTICLE 2:

Macro-Level Gender Inequality and the Division of Household Labor in 22 Countries

Fuwa, Makiko. American Sociological Review 69 (2004): 751-767.

Abstract (summary)

While most previous studies focus on the effects of individuals' and couples' characteristics on the division of housework, this study argues that macro-level factors are equally important in the dynamics of housework distribution between spouses. Data from the 1994 International Social Survey Programme is used to examine whether macro-level gender inequality limits the effect of individual-level variables (relative resources, time availability, and gender ideology) on the division of housework in 22 industrialized countries. The results show that the equalizing effects of time availability and gender ideology are stronger for women in more egalitarian countries; women in less egalitarian countries benefit less from their individual-level assets. Additional analysis shows that other macro-level factors (economic development, female labor-force participation, gender norms, and welfare regimes) may also influence the division of housework. The results suggest that changes in individual-level factors may not be enough to achieve an equal division of housework without the reduction of macro-level gender inequality.

Which is EMPIRICAL?
ARTICLE 1 is empirical research.: 0 votes (0%)
ARTICLE 2 is empirical research: 0 votes (0%)
BOTH are empirical research.: 0 votes (0%)
NEITHER is empirical research.: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 0

And the Answer Is...

ARTICLE 2 is the Empirical Article - and here are some things from the abstract that indicate it is empirical research:

  • It says "this study" - typically meaning the article is an empirical study and not a literature review.
  • It describes what data were used in the study - "Data from the 1994 International Social Survey Programme..."
  • It mentions "variables" and how they effect the main focus of the study - in other words, it is describing the independent variables (relative resources, time availability, and gender ideology) and their impact on the dependent variable (the division of housework in 22 industrialized countries).
  • It mentions "analysis" of the data and the "results" - typically clear indicators of empirical research.

ARTICLE 2:

Macro-Level Gender Inequality and the Division of Household Labor in 22 Countries 

Fuwa, Makiko. American Sociological Review 69 (2004): 751-767.

Abstract (summary)

While most previous studies focus on the effects of individuals' and couples' characteristics on the division of housework, this study argues that macro-level factors are equally important in the dynamics of housework distribution between spouses. Data from the 1994 International Social Survey Programme is used to examine whether macro-level gender inequality limits the effect of individual-level variables (relative resources, time availability, and gender ideology) on the division of housework in 22 industrialized countries. The results show that the equalizing effects of time availability and gender ideology are stronger for women in more egalitarian countries; women in less egalitarian countries benefit less from their individual-level assets. Additional analysis shows that other macro-level factors (economic development, female labor-force participation, gender norms, and welfare regimes) may also influence the division of housework. The results suggest that changes in individual-level factors may not be enough to achieve an equal division of housework without the reduction of macro-level gender inequality.

Subject Librarian

Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh

E-Encyclopedia of Research Design

Encyclopedia of Research Design is an online collection of entries written by scholars in the field of research design, the discipline of how to plan and conduct empirical research, including the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods.