Q. How can I find empirical studies?


An empirical study is a type of scholarly article that is grounded in experimentation and observation, using qualitative, quantitative and other sound research methods to establish causal relationships and informed critical analysis.

Much of the time, scholarly articles in the sciences are empirical studies even though it is often not expressly stated. Documents that derive data and conclusions from experiments, studies, trials, and surveys are all examples of empirical studies.

The content of a published empirical study is commonly structured as follows:

  • Title and Authors
  • Abstract (a brief objective summary of the study)
  • Introduction (including a brief review of relevant literature or history)
  • Method (or "Methodology")
  • Results (or "Data")
  • Discussion (or "Conclusion")
  • References

How do I find empirical studies?

Unfortunately there is not a simple, 100% effective means of limiting a search to empirical studies, but understanding this definition and structure will help you identify them as you conduct searches in Discover or library databases.

There are a few methods that may help to limit to empirical studies, depending on the search tool...


In Discover:

Try adding one of the following keywords to your search: empirical or "empirical study;" study; quantitative; qualitative; statistics.


In Ebsco:

Some hosted databases have indexed the type of study used in the publication. Check the limiters menu on the left side of your search results for Methodology. If present, this should allow you to check the boxes of the types of studies you would like to see in your results.


In PubMed:

Scroll to the bottom of the filters menu on the left side of the page and click "Additional Filters." You will find a list of all study types under the "Article Type" facet. Check the boxes for the desired study types and click "Show" to update your results.

"Empirical Study" is not an option here, but the various trials and studies listed are, by nature, empirical.


Please reach out to your Librarian if you would like further assistance.

  • Last Updated Mar 07, 2020
  • Views 1
  • Answered By Matt Young

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