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Health & Exercise Science

What is empirical research?

Empirical research is research that is based on direct observation, investigation, or experience. The term distinguishes articles that describe original observational research (such as experiments) from other types of articles, such as a meta-analysis of previous research or theoretical discussions.

How do I find articles that describe empirical research?

In general, you can tell if an article describes empirical research or not by reading its abstract. The library databases don’t include a search field that will allow you to limit your search to empirical research only, nor will the records necessarily include the word “empirical” itself. However, the description of the research methodology that’s included in the abstract will almost always contain enough information for you to be able to tell if the article is appropriate. Read the abstract to determine if the article is describing original, observational research.