How to Write a Good Empirical Review

How to Write a Good Empirical Review Without Waste of Time

While writing your project, journal or research work, the literature review part of it is an important aspect that should not be toiled with. This is because nothing is new on earth. Everything that is in existence at the moment was built from what was previously available. Hence, every research work been carried out is a build-up of what was previously obtainable. This therefore means that current research work are simple innovations and improvement of what previously existed.

Although every institution have their different standards and formats for writing, it is important to state that the literature review section consists of the Conceptual framework, Theoretical framework, Empirical framework/review and Research Gaps also known as Summary or Reviewed Literature. As such, this article will strictly focus on how to write a good empirical review. It is important to know that Empirical Review and Empirical Framework can be used interchangeably.

What is Empirical Review?

For us to understand what empirical review means, we must first understand the concept of empiricism. Empiricism is defined as anything that has been proven and has fact in it. Hence it is factual. With this, Empirical review or framework is defined as the view of other scholars that has been proven, experimented and found factual. It is a well-structured approach developed and implemented to monitor and assess the progress of various domains. It is also a collection and analysis of primary Data to answer a research question. To some scholars, the empirical review is the most important part of the literature review. This is seen in the fact that in some institution’s format for writing literature review, you may not necessarily talk about the conceptual and theoretical review, but the empirical review is a must. To other scholars, empirical review is as important as any other part of the literature review. Be it as it may, our focus here is strictly on the empirical review.

Before writing your empirical review, you must first ensure that your objectives and research questions has been clearly stated. In writing, you must clearly state your objectives. The research questions are then gotten from the objectives. Simply put, the research questions are objectives been converted to a question format. This must be clearly stated before you delve into the empirical review.

The articles been reviewed are aimed at answering your research questions. Hence, the relevance of an article in your study is determined by how it answers your research questions. Let me cite an example with this research topic, “The Impact of Leadership Styles on the Productivity of Workers in Infoducation”. Although there are several leadership styles like, Charismatic, Democratic, Autocratic, Bureaucratic, Transformational, Laisse Affair, Transactional etc. The delimitation for the study could be only three of the above mentioned leadership styles which are; Democratic, Autocratic and Bureaucratic. Hence, all the scholarly articles that should be reviewed must focus on the three leadership styles above. Since we are not considering Charismatic leadership style in our delimitation, it becomes unnecessary to review articles that talk about Charismatic leadership style. This must be clearly understood, so that the researcher will be guided in what to do in the empirical review.

Using the three leadership styles above, our research questions could be;

  1. What is the effect of the Democratic leadership style on the productivity of workers in infoducation?
  2. What is the effect of the Autocratic leadership style on the productivity of workers in infoducation?
  3. What is the effect of the Charismatic leadership style on the productivity of workers in infoducation?

Furthermore, in your empirical review, you provide the authors name and the year in which the said article was published. For example, it can come in this format, Bush (2019) opined that… Anil, Herbert, Jack & Crowell (2023) noted that… These and many more examples can follow as a guideline for your consideration

Also, note that there is a timeframe for which an article can be considered. Ensure you do not review an article that is older than 10years from the year your study is been conducted. This means that for the fact that we are in 2024, the oldest article to be considered should be the one written in 2014. To some institutions, 10 years margin is even much, but it remains the standard.

From the example of the three leaderships styles for consideration as stated above which are Democratic, Autocratic and Bureaucratic, it is important to review at least 3 literature on each of the three leadership styles. This means that your empirical review will consist of nine scholarly reviews. This is only applicable when there is no stipulated number of literature to be reviewed for each leadership style. Some institutions will require at least five while others require more. But in a situation where no specific number of articles was stipulated, then you must no go below three for each research question. With the above research questions, the researcher must then know that the focus is not just to review scholarly articles on each of these leadership styles. Rather, he must review article on these leadership styles with respect to how it affects workers productivity, motivation, performance, etc. in other work places. There are lots of scholarly articles already in existence on these domains. Hence, that should be the basis for the review.

Also, in beginning a particular review, you can use words like,

  1. According to Anil, Herbert, Jack & Crowell (2023)
  2. Furthermore, Anil, Herbert, Jack & Crowell (2023)
  3. Also, Anil, Herbert, Jack & Crowell (2023)
  4. Moreso, Anil, Herbert, Jack & Crowell (2023)
  5. Alternatively, Anil, Herbert, Jack & Crowell (2023). Although, this format is used when the result of the study in a literature is in opposition with the current one been reviewed.

In some cases, you can go ahead to list the name(s) of the authors without adding any word before it like; Anil, Herbert, Jack & Crowell (2023) stated that…

In each article been reviewed, ensure you get the following information; Author(s) name, year of publication, the methodology adopted, sample size used, method of data collection, instrument for data analysis and result of the study.

How do to write a Good Empirical Review

Having done an in-depth and thorough review of what the Empirical Review looks like, lets head straight to how it is been done. Several people may recommend different approaches to writing a good empirical review but for this article, we will recommend only 2 approaches;

First Approach

In the first approach, these are the steps you should follow

Clearly state your research questions: I have given you tips on how to state your research questions. This is the first thing you must do if you truly want to write a good empirical review.

Get scholarly articles that answers your research questions: I stated above that since we are not considering the charismatic leadership styles, it would be unnecessary to review articles on that. Hence, the articles should not just be articles that talks about the various leadership styles we are considering, they must be able to accurately answer the research questions you stated. You can get materials on Google Scholar, Science Direct, ResearchGate, Google etc.

When you get the needed articles focus on the following sections; Introduction, Methodology, Conclusion and Recommendation. You may literally not be able to go through the entire articles line by line and word for word. Hence, focus on the sections listed above. The introduction section will give you an in-depth background and overview of what the authors wants to achieve. With that, you can know if the said article is in line with that you are looking for. The methodology section will help you know the methodology adopted, sample size, instrument for data collection, method of data analysis and so on. These are relevant information you must provide n your empirical review. The conclusion section will help you find out the final result of the study or research while the recommendation section will help you know the future trends in that work and also the help you find out the research gaps.

Second Approach

The second approach is a very simple and straight forward one that can save you stress and time. Here, all you need to do is go through the abstract. Abstract is a detailed summary of your work. This is why abstracts are written at the end of your work. It covers the objectives, methodology adopted, sample size, instrument for data collection and analysis, conclusion and recommendations. Hence, this is the best and simplest way to write a good empirical review. But ensure you paraphrase the abstract so as to present it in your own word. In a few case where the abstract may not be as detailed as expected, then the first step becomes the best bet.


This article aims at teaching you how to write a good empirical review. A lot of research and study was put in to this work and hence I believe it will help you to write a good empirical review. Here is my guide on how to identify research gaps. This will also be of immense help to you

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