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Empirical studies   Tags: empirical, quantitative, research, study  

Strategies for finding empirical studies and research articles
Last Updated: Sep 5, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Empirical studies Print Page

What is an empirical study?

  • Empirical studies are those based on actual and objective observation or experimentation.
  • Articles that describe empirical research studies are published in scholarly or academic journals.
  • Many scholarly or academic journals are peer-reviewed or refereed, meaning that a panel of experts in the field selects and reviews the articles published in the journal. These articles are often, but not always, empirical studies.
  • Empirical studies articles comprise the following parts (wording may vary):
    • abstract
    • introduction (and review of the literature)
    • method
    • results
    • discussion (and/or Conclusion)
    • references

Sample Journals

The following journals are examples that contain empirical studies and use APA format for documenting sources:


Periodicals List Search

To find out if the library has a specific journal (in print or online), search for the journal name:

Finding Empirical Study Articles


Finding empirical research articles

Most databases will let you limit your search to articles that are:

  • scholarly
  • academic
  • peer-reviewed
  • refereed

Most, but not all, of these will be empirical studies.

To further focus your search, try adding one of the following terms to your search (try different combinations):

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

For example, to find empirical studies on newspaper reading, I might try this:

Where to look

  • Academic Search Complete (EBSCO)
    A comprehensive, multi-disciplinary database providing access to peer-reviewed journals, as well as to some newspapers and magazines, and other publications including monographs, reports, conference proceedings, etc.
  • Communication and Journalism
    Search for articles in databases best suited to communication and journalism topics
  • Databases by Topic
    This webpage allows you to search for a database by its title or to click on a letter to find it by title.
  • Social Sciences
    Search for articles in databases covering the broad spectrum of social sciences
    A multidisiplinary and fulltext archive of scholarly journals that spans many disciplines, primarily in the humanities and social sciences.
  • SocINDEX with Full Text (EBSCO)
    SocINDEX with Full Text contains citations and full text coverage of journal articles, books, conference papers, etc. in sociology and related topics.
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