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What is Empirical Research

Empirical research is based on observed and measured phenomena and derives knowledge from actual experience rather than from theory or belief.

Key characteristics to look for:

  • Statement about the methodology being used
  • Research questions to be answered
  • Definition of the group or phenomena being studied
  • Process used to study this group or phenomena, including any
  • controls or instruments such as tests or surveys
  • Ask yourself: Could I recreate this study and test these results?
  • Read the abstract of the article for a description of the methodology
     

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

Some databases allow you to limit your search by methodology. Or, try adding the keywords “empirical research” or just “empirical.”

Databases for empirical research:

Proquest

  • Add the keyword term empirical to your search

PsycINFO (Psychology)

  • Limit to empirical study under Methodology
     

Sociological Abstracts (Sociology)

  • Add the descriptor term Empirical Methods to your search
  • Choose “descriptor DE” from drop-down menu
     

ERIC (Education)

  • Add the keyword term empirical to your search
  • Choose “keyword KW” from drop-down menu

OTDBASE

OTSeeker

  • Use the connecter OR and add empirical

Adapted from Empirical Research Tutorial from Mississippi State University