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EXSC 1210 Intro to Exercise Science (Dionisio) Spring 2023

Keywords for finding Empirical Research

Try using any of the following keywords/search terms to narrow your results to empirical articles:





Case studies

Data analysis






Statistical analysis



Article: A self-contained nonfiction prose composition on a fairly narrow topic or subject, written by one or more authors and published under a separate title in a periodical containing other works of the same form.

Periodical: A publication appearing at regular (or irregular) intervals with its own distinctive title, containing a mix of articles, editorials, reviews, columns, short stories, poems, or other short works written by more than one contributor, issued in soft-cover more than once.  Examples include journals, magazines, and newspapers.

Database: A large, regularly updated file of digitized information (bibliographic records, abstracts, full-text documents, images, statistics, etc.) related to a specific subject or field, consisting of records of uniform format organized for ease and speed of search and retrieval, and managed with the aid of a database management system software.

Articles are in periodicals, and multiple periodicals are in databases.  Sometimes not everything in a periodical will be available in a database.  In this case, it's best to go to the print copy!

What are Empirical Articles?

An empirical article is a research article that reports the results of a study that uses quantitative or qualitative data derived from observation or experimentation.  Empirical articles are found in peer-reviewed journals.  Every empirical articles has several different sections, which typically include Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, and a substantial list of References. This link will take you to an example of an empirical article.

Empirical articles are always peer-reviewed (also known as scholarly). Peer-review is a process that many scholarly journals undertake to evaluate the quality of the material being submitted. When an article is submitted to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, several impartial reviewers (who are experts in the subject matter) ensure that the article presents properly conducted and original research or writing.  They must also assure accuracy and validity. 

Though you can usually limit a search in a database to just peer-reviewed articles, it is always best to double-check by using Ulrichsweb, the authoritative source of information on over 300,000 periodicals.  Simply type the name of the journal (not the article title) in the search box, find the corresponding journal title, and look for the referee uniform, as in the example below.

screenshot of Ulrichsweb with referee uniform circled in red

Databases to Find Empirical Articles

Databases provide access to articles and other information; sometimes the full text is available but sometimes only the abstract and citation information are available (in which case you can request the item through interlibrary loan). Databases can include access to peer-reviewed articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles, etc.  Some are specialized by topic, and some are interdisciplinary.  Milne Library subscribes to hundreds of databases.  Those listed below are a good start for your work in this class. 

Scroll down to the next section for a short video tutorial on using Academic Search Complete.  Many of the same strategies from the video can be applied to other databases as well!

Video Tutorial

Academic Search Complete is a library database that covers many topics, and can be a good place to start research.  The video below provides a helpful overview, and many of the tips and tricks you'll learn in this video can be applied to other databases, including the more specific ones below!