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Empirical Research articles

Citation - Georgia State University Library. (2013, December 19). What is an empirical article? [Video file]. Retrieved from

Examples of Empirical Research articles!

Search for Empirical Research Articles in Library Databases

  • A quick way to look for empirical research is to type your search terms into the database's search box, then add the terms "study" or "studies" to your search to look for articles on your topic area. For example: social media AND study. Limit your search to scholarly/professional journals (usually by a checkbox) if that is an available search option on the database. 

  • If you are having difficulty, other limiting terms that may be helpful include: research, observation, survey, experiment, findings, and subjects or participants. For example: social media AND survey.
  • Possible useful search phrases: longitudinal study or participant group
  • In EBSCO databases, like Academic Search Premier-- You can add Empirical Research to your search (hint - use Advance Search). For example: social media AND su(empirical research). Evaluate the search results using the guidelines to determine if an article is empirical.

How can I determine if I have found an Empirical Article?

When looking at an article or the abstract of an article, here are some guidelines to use to decide if an article is an empirical article:

  • Is the article published in an academic, scholarly, or professional journal? Popular magazines such as Business Week or Newsweek do not publish empirical articles; academic journals such as Business Communication Quarterly or Journal of Psychology may publish empirical articles. Some professional journals such as JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association publish empirical research. Other professional journals such as Coach & Athletic Director publish articles of professional interest, but they do not usually publish research articles. Librarian tip - Limit a search to Scholarly Journals (ProQuest) or Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals (Ebsco) 
  • Does the abstract of the article mention a study, an observation, an analysis, or a number of participants or subjects? Was data collected, a survey or questionnaire administered, an assessment or measurement used, or an interview conducted? All of these terms indicate possible methodologies used in empirical research.

  • How long is the article? An empirical article is usually substantial; it is normally three or more pages long.
Librarian tip #2 - If an article title uses words like review, literature review, or systematic review. Its most likely not an empirical study or article.