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Dental Hygiene: What are Empirical Articles?

What are empirical articles?

Empirical articles report on original research. You may be able to tell that the article is empirical from the title or abstract, or you may have to scan the article to know if it is empirical.

Empirical articles include the following components:

  • abstract
  • introduction
  • literature review
  • methodology
  • results
  • discussion
  • conclusion
  • references

These sections can be combined.  They can have headings, or they many not have any headings.

You can use these hints to know whether or not an article is empirical when you are searching in the databases:

  • The abstract for the article includes details of a study 
  • The article is fairly lengthy - usually at least five pages and often 15-30 pages.
  • The methodology section is a good give away.  It is likely to be labeled, so look for a section labeled something like "Methodology", or "Research Methods". There will also be a results section, and it may be labeled as such.