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Psychology: Research Articles

Subject Guide for Psychology

How to Recognize Empirical Journal Articles

Definition of an empirical study: An empirical research article reports the results of a study that uses data derived from actual observation or experimentation. Empirical research articles are examples of primary research.

Parts of a standard empirical research article: (articles will not necessary use the exact terms listed below.)

  • Abstract ... A paragraph length description of what the study includes.
  • Introduction...Includes a statement of the hypotheses for the research and a review of other research on the topic.
  • Method ...A description of how the research was conducted, such as:
             ◊ Who are participants
             ◊  Design of the study
             ◊  What the participants did
             ◊  What measures were used
  • Results...Describes the outcomes of the measures of the study.
  • Discussion...Contains the interpretations and implications of the study.
  • References...Contains citation information on the material cited in the report. (also called bibliography or works cited)

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.

Type of publications that publish empirical studies:

  • Empirical research articles are published in scholarly or academic journals
    These journals are also called “peer-reviewed,” or “refereed” publications.
  • Examples of such publications include:
           American Journal of Sociology
          
    Sociological Quarterly

           ◊ Sociological Methods and Research

Databases that contain empirical research: (selected list only)

  • Academic Search Premier add these words to your search terms:
    method* or
    research or research design or survey* or data or result*
  • PsycINFO limit your searches by Form/Content Type to Empirical Study
  • ERIC limit to Pub. Type to Reports - Research/Technical
    Change one dropdown box to Record. This finds REPORTS--RESEARCH.
  • Sociological Abstracts 1963 - present.
  • Sports Discus Change search limit to Level = Advanced for original scientific research

sample empirical articles

Sample empirical research article
Hou, X., Wang, H., Guo, C., Gaskin, J., Rost, D. H., & Wang, J. (2017). Psychological resilience can help combat the effect of stress on problematic social networking site usage. Personality and Individual Differences, 109, 61-66.

Sample empirical research article
Spindle, T. R., Hiler, M., Cooke, M. E., Eissenberg, T., Kendler, K. S., & Dick, D. M. (2017). Electronic cigarette use and uptake of cigarette smoking: A longitudinal examination of U.S. college students. Addictive behaviors, 67, 66-72.

Example of an empirical chart

empirical research will contain statistical anaylsis