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What is empirical research?

Last Updated: Jun 01, 2016  |  41 Views

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Empirical research is based on direct observation or experimentation.  Empirical/primary research articles contain the original data and conclusions of the researchers who were involved in the experiment(s).

Empirical/primary research articles typically contain standard sections:

  • Abstract – a brief summary of the research
  • Introduction/Literature Review – includes a statement of the hypotheses and a review of other research on the topic
  • Methodology – Method/Methods section describes how the research was conducted
  • Results – describe the outcomes of the measures of the study
  • Discussion – includes the interpretations and implications of the research
  • References – present information about the material cited in the report

How do I find empirical research on my topic?
Empirical research is published in books and scholarly, peer-reviewed journals. Bertrand Library subscribes to several databases you can use to find peer-reviewed articles from scholarly journals.

Tip:  Some databases, such as PsychINFO, allow you to limit your search by methodology (empirical research) within the advanced search mode.  For other databases, try your keywords in combination with other keywords such as:

  • study
  • methodology (or method)
  • empirical
  • research
  • findings
  • results
  • participants

Not every article in a scholarly journal is an empirical research article. Scholarly journals may also include editorials, news, review articles, etc. You must examine the content of an article to be certain it is an empirical research article.

Answered by Nancy FrazierBookmark and Share

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