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Special Education, Counseling, and School Psychology

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What is an Empirical Article?

An empirical research article reports research based on actual observation or experiment.

Characteristics of an Empirical Article:

  • Empirical articles will include charts, graphs, or statistical analysis.
  • Empirical research articles are usually substantial, maybe from 8-30 pages long.
  • There is always a bibliography found at the end of the article.
  • Reports of empirical studies are articles summarizing original research.

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

Empirical Studies Format

Title: is a concise description of the empirical research report. It should convey appropriate information about the study or studies presented in the report.

Abstract: provides a brief but comprehensive summary of the research.

Introduction: sets the research in a context (it provides the "big picture"), provides a review of related research, and develops the hypotheses for the research.  The introduction describes the problem, develops the theoretical and empirical background for the research questions, and elaborates a rationale for all parts of the study.

Method (or methodology): is a description of how the research was conducted, including who the participants were, the design of the study, what the participants did, and what measures were used. The detail is important so the reader can determine the appropriateness of the method for answering the scientific questions. It is also important for another researcher to be able to replicate the study. This section reads a lot like a recipe.

Results: describes the outcomes of the measures of the study. This section contains the summaries and analyses of the measures obtained in the study. This is where the "answers" to the research questions will be found.

Discussion: contains the interpretations and implications of the study. There may be more that one study in the report; in this case, there are usually separate Method and Results sections for each study followed by a General Discussion that ties all the research together.

References: contains information about all the articles and books that were cited in the report. The reference citations are used to support statements made in the article.

Modified from  @Department of Psychology, Academic Technologies for Learning, and University of Alberta, 1997.
Retrieved 10/1/06 from http://www.artsci.gmcc.ab.ca/courses/psyc208/Reading/Reading.htm 
 

Examples of Scholarly Articles

 

 

Qualitative Study

Quantitative Study

Literature Review

Meta-Analysis

Sample groups too small to analyze using statistics

 

 

 

Produces numerical results/ analyzed statistically

An article that provides an overview of important research on a particular topic

Reviews several quantitative studies analyzing them looking for patterns/ trends within data

Case Study

 

May involves experimentation

Considered scholarly but not primary research/ no new study is conducted

Uses existing studies

Interview

 

Survey/ questionnaire

 

 

Usually considered another form of quantitative research

Focus Groups

 

 

 

Limiting your search to empirical studies in PsycINFO

To limit your results to empirical studies in PsycINFO, select EMPIRICAL STUDY from the Methodology box.

Limiting your search to empirical studies in ERIC

To limit your results to retrieve only empirical studies in ERIC.

 

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