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Empirical Research: Introduction

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Empirical Research

  • Reports research based on experience, observation or experiment
  • Tests a hypothesis against real data
  • May use quantitative research methods that generate numerical data to establish causal relationships between variables 
  • May use qualitative research methods that analyze behaviors, beliefs, feelings, or values 

What does Empirical Research Look Like?

Empirical research studies will be found in peer reviewed, scholarly/academic journals. However, not all peer reviewed articles are empirical research studies.

Carefully look over articles to determine if they are empirical. This What Kind of Article Do I Need guide may prove helpful in clarifying the various types of articles available through the CSU Library. Below are other indications of an empirical article. 

The abstract will mention a study, an observation, an analysis, or a number of participants or subjects.

Data is often collected through a methodology or method such as: from a survey or questionnaire, an assessment or system of measurement, or through participant interviews

As you search for empirical research studies, you will see most feature section headings like these:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review 
  • Methodology 
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References

In addition, you will likely also see these types of articles feature more than one author and the article's length will be substantial, typically three or more pages. 

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