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AAS 6010: Research Methods: Finding Empirical Articles (Davis): What Is an Empirical Article?

Empirical Articles

For this assignment you will need to find an article that reviews empirical literature or an empirical article.

What is an empirical article?
An empirical article reports on research conducted by the authors. The research can be based on observations or experiments.  

What types of research make an article empirical?
An empirical article may report a study that used quantitative research methods, which generate numerical data and seek to establish causal relationships between two or more variables. They may also report on a study that uses qualitative research methods, which objectively and critically analyze behaviors, beliefs, feelings, or values with few or no numerical data available for analysis

How can I tell if an article is empirical?

  • Check the publication in which the article appears. Is it scholarly? Most empirical articles will be in scholarly journals.
  • Read the article's abstract. Does it include details of a study, observation, or analysis of a number of participants or subjects?
  • Look at the article itself. Is it more than three pages long? Most empirical articles will be fairly lengthy.
  • Look at the article itself. If it contains a subsection marked "Methodology" and another called "Results," it is probably empirical.

How can I search these articles?
There is no quick way to limit your searches only to articles that review empirical studies (or to empirical studies themselves). You will have to do keyword searches, then review article abstracts in order to determine the nature of each. To run keyword searches, use the databases listed on the "Finding Empirical Articles" tab.

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Created by Sarah Steiner, GSU's Social Work Librarian and used with her permission.