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Sociology Research Guide: Identify Empirical Articles

Subject guide for Sociology

Empirical

“The theory must not contradict empirical facts,”  Albert Einstein

Example of an empirical chart

empirical research will contain statistical anaylsis

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.