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Psychology, Counseling, and Social Work Subject Guide: Finding Empirical Articles

What is an Empirical Article?

Empirical research draws its conclusions from actual experience, as opposed to theory or belief. In this section, you will find some tips on how to find and recognize empirical research in the following databases:

Key Characteristics of Empirical Articles

  • Empirical studies will have a very specific research question.
  • Empirical studies will provide a definition of the population, behavior or phenomena being studied.
  • Empirical studies will provide a description of the process used to study this population or phenomena (i.e. methodology). 

Finding Empirical Articles in PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES

After you have entered into your database of choice, search for your topic using the main search bar on the homepage, or use the Advanced Search option.

On your results page, you will see an unfiltered collection of articles ranging from magazines to literature reviews to encyclopedia entries. 

On the lefthand side of your results page, you should see a long bar of filters. Under Methodology, you will select "empirical study". You will also want to filter for Full Text under "Limit To" and Academic Journal under "Source Type". This will ensure that you are seeing scholarly, academic articles that are available through the library's resources. 

After filtering, you should only see articles discussing empirical studies.