In academic writing, there are a number of different types of articles. An empirical article is one that relies on scientific data derived from observation and/or experimentation. Empirical articles may rely on either quantitative or qualitative evidence. Empirical articles can be found in peer-reviewed, scholarly journals. There are a number of online databases that contain empirical articles, such as Academic Search Complete or PsychINFO.
Quantitative evidence is generated from numerical data, while qualitative data comes from behaviors or ideas, generated through techniques such as interviews, and do not rely on hard numbers. An empirical article can rely on one or both of these types of evidence; both are scientifically valid. As a rule, empirical articles generally include the following elements: an introduction, a literature review, methods, results, discussion and/or conclusion, and scholarly references.
Additionally, many empirical articles, when published in a peer-reviewed journal, include an abstract, a short synopsis of the article’s content. Empirical articles contain original research, and are generally substantial in length, and may even include several charts and tables. When searching a database for such articles, a student may wish to include the word “empirical” in their search terms in order to help sift through results.