A research article that reports the results of a study using data derived from actual observation or experimentation rather than theory or belief.
How do you know if a study is empirical? Read the subheadings within the article, book, or report and look for a description of the research "methodology." Ask yourself: Could I recreate this study and test these results?
Key characteristics to look for:
These are the standard parts of an empirical article:
Most databases will let you limit your search to articles that are:
Many, 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):
An alternative is to use terminology recommended by the ERIC thesaurus. Some useful keywords are:
Most databases allow for a symbol to be used at the end of a word to retrieve variant endings of that word. This is known as truncation.
Using truncation will broaden your search. For example,
bank* will retrieve: bank or banks or banking or banker or bankruptcy, etc.
Databases and Internet search engines use different symbols to truncate. In general, most of the Library's databases use the asterisk (*) ; however, the exclamation point (!) is used in LexisNexis. Check the database help screen to find the correct truncation symbol.
Be careful using truncation. Truncating after too few letters will retrieve terms that are not relevant. For example:
cat* will also retrieve cataclysm, catacomb, catalepsy, catalog, etc.
It's best to use the boolean operator "or" in these instances (cat or cats).