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Final Project: Empirical Study

Project Version #1: Empirical paper

An empirical paper is a report on a series of empirical tests, and the meaning of their results. Most empirical papers follow some approximation of the narrative below. The numerical list is standard, the subheadings (a, b, …) are optional.


1. an exposition of a question or area of knowledge in need of exploration

2. a discussion of existing studies that most nearly approach that question or area

a. studies that approach a similar issue successfully—how do their goals differ from yours?

b. studies that approach the same issue unsuccessfully—how will yours succeed?

3. [OPTIONAL:] a discussion of existing empirical studies of similar methodology

a. how do their methodologies succeed or fail?

b. how will you adjust that methodology for this new purpose?


4. detailed description of your method


5. detailed description of your data


6. discussion of the significance of your results 

If your study consists of informal, non-invasive, non-coercive, non-intensive tests of your classmates, you can do this without going through the protocol of the campus “Institutional Review Board” <http://officeofresearch.ucsc.edu/orca/irb/index.html> for human subjects research. However, IRB approval is not difficult for behavioral studies. I would strongly encourage you plan a larger study, involving for example, undergraduates in your musicianship sections, and work with me to get approval for it.

The most crucial feature of this paper is its data analysis, and its potential to contribute nuance to our knowledge about an issue currently known inadequately, or only vaguely.

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