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What is empirical research?

Last Updated: May 15, 2015  |  180 Views

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Empirical research is based on actual and objective observation or experimentation rather than from theory or belief. Empirical research can be published in books and scholarly or academic journals.

Finding empirical research articles

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

  • scholarly
  • academic
  • peer-reviewed
  • refereed

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

Empirical studies articles may include the following sections (wording may vary):

  • abstract
  • introduction (and review of the literature)
  • method
  • results
  • discussion (and/or conclusion)
  • references

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

  • study
  • methodology (or method)
  • empirical
  • research report
  • findings
  • results
  • participants
  • evidence-based
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