Skip to main content
Wartburg College homepage  
VOGEL LIBRARY

Psychology Courses & Research: Find
Articles

Finding Emperical Articles

What is an empirical article?

An empirical article reports on research conducted by the author or authors. The research can be based on observations or experiments that derives knowledge from actual experience rather than from theory or belief.

What types of research make an article empirical?

An empirical article may report a study that used quantitative research methods, which generate numerical data and seek to establish causal relationships between two or more variables. They may also report on a study that uses qualitative research methods, which objectively and critically analyze behaviors, beliefs, feelings, or values with few or no numerical data available for analysis

How can I tell if an article is empirical?

  • Check the publication in which the article appears. Is it scholarly? The vast majority of empirical articles will be in scholarly journals.
  • Read the article's abstract. Does it include details of a study, observation, or analysis of a number of participants or subjects?
  • Look at the article itself. Is it more than three pages long? Most empirical articles will be fairly lengthy.
  • Look at the article itself. If it contains a subsection marked "Methodology" and another called "Results," it is probably empirical.
  • Look at the end of the article. Empirical articles will include a list of references.
  • If you're still unsure, consult your professor or a librarian.

What sections might an empirical article contain?

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References

How can I search for these articles?

There is no quick way to limit your searches only to articles that review empirical studies (or to empirical studies themselves). You will have to do keyword searches, then review article abstracts in order to determine the nature of each.

Journal Articles from Psychology Databases

Journal Articles from Additional Related Databases

Is a Journal Scholarly?

UlrichsWEB Global Serials Directory is useful for checking if a journal is refereed, which indicates a level of scholarly content. You can also find the purpose and audience of a journal title.

Online Table of Contents

Investigate the largest free collection of scholarly journal table of contents.

Remember, we do not necessarily have free access to articles of interest to you.