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Empirical Research in the Social Sciences and Education

Basic info, tips, & resources for finding empirical research, especially in Education, Graduate Psychology and Behavioral/Social Sciences

Introduction to Empirical Research

Empirical research is published in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals and in scholarly books. However, most databases and websites don't offer straightforward ways to locate empirical research. Check out the tips below on how to locate empirical sources.

Limiting within a Database

Some databases provide a "Empirical Study" limiter, which you can usually find under "Advanced Search"

The methodology drop down contains multiple options. One option is "Empirical Study".

Finding Empirical Sources: Using Keywords

Some databases (including LibrarySearch) do not have handy drop-downs to limit to empirical sources. Instead, use the phrase "empirical study" or one of these thesaurus phrases to find relevant sources: 

Action Research Case Study Content Analysis Data Analysis Ethnography
Evaluation Methods Experiments Focus Groups Field Studies Interviews
Longitudinal Studies Mail Surveys Mixed Methods Research Naturalistic Observation Online Surveys
Participant Observation Participatory Research Qualitative Research Questionnaires Research
Statistical Analysis Statistical Studies Statistical Surveys Telephone Surveys Use Studies