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Sociology 201

Empirical Articles

An empirical research article reports the results of a study that uses data derived from actual observation or experimentation. It often includes the following sections:

  • Abstract: a description of what the study includes, usually in one paragraph length.
  • 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, and what measures were used
  • Results: report the outcomes of the study.
  • Discussion: implication, significance, or limitations of the study.
  • References: a list of works cited in the study

Empirical studies often include charts, graphs, or statistical analysis and are published​ in scholarly/ academic journals, also called “peer-reviewed,” or “refereed” journals.  Articles published in these journals are often written by scholars or experts in academic or professional fields, and go through a strict evaluation/ review process before getting published.

Database Search Strategies

  • Academic Search Complete 
    Add search terms: method or methodology or survey or data or result...to your search terms
  • ERIC (EBSCO) 
    Limit your search to: Reports-Research under Publication Type
  • PsycINFO 
    Limit your search to: Empirical Study under Methodology

Examples of Scholarly Journals include: American Journal of Sociology; Sociological Methods and Research.  And you can find empirical research articles in many library subscribed databases. Try the databases listed above.

Let's take a look at one such article:

Wolfson, M "Electronic cigarette use by college students." Drug and alcohol dependence 131.3 (2013): 214-221.