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Empirical Research: Finding Empirical Research in Library Databases

Introduction

Empirical research is published in books and in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals. However, most library databases do not offer straightforward ways to locate empirical research. Below are tips for some of LAHC's most popular Education and Behavioral/Social Sciences databases.

Empirical research is published in books and in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals.

Make sure to select the peer-review box within each database!

Finding Empirical Research in EBSCO

ERIC (a database provided by EBSCO) does not have a simple method to locate empirical research. Using "empirical" as a keyword will find some studies, but miss others. One technique is to search for "Research Reports":

  • Use the "Advanced Search"
  • Type your keywords into the search boxes
  • Under "More Search Options," see "Document Type," and choose "Reports: Research"
  • Choose other limits, such as publication date, if needed
  • Click on the "Search" button

An alternative is to use terminology recommended by the ERIC thesaurus. Some useful keywords are:

  • Action Research
  • Case Studies
  • Ethnography
  • Evaluation Methods
  • Evaluation Research
  • Experiments
  • Focus Groups
  • Field Studies
  • Interviews
  • Mail Surveys
  • Mixed Methods Research
  • Naturalistic Observation
  • Participant Observation
  • Participatory Research
  • Qualitative Research
  • Questionnaires
  • Research
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Statistical Studies
  • Telephone Surveys

Finding Empirical Research in Health and Medical Databases

These databases may not have a simple method to locate empirical research. One technique is to search for "evidence-based practice" items: 

  • Use the "Advanced Search"
  • Type your keywords into the search boxes
  • Under "Limit your results," check off "Evidence-Based Practice"
  • Choose other limits, such as published date, if needed
  • Click on the "Search" button

Another alternative is to use terminology recommended by the Headings list. Some useful keywords are:

  • Empirical Research
  • Experimental Studies
  • Qualitative Studies
  • Quantitative Studies