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Psychology

Use this guide for help with your psychology courses and assignments.

Empirical Studies

What are empirical studies?

Empirical studies are studies based on actual and objective observation or experimentation.  Descriptions and results of empirical studies are published in scholarly/peer-reviewed journals.  Literature reviews, on the other hand, are summaries of published research on a particular topic and are not empirical studies.  

Empirical studies contain these elements (wording may vary):

  1. Abstract: brief description of the study.
  2. Introduction: hypothesis, rationale for the study, and literature review; provides the context for the study.
  3. Method: how the research was conducted, including who the participants were, the design of the study, what the participants did and what measures were used.
  4. Results: summary and analysis of the outcomes of the study’s measures; usually includes charts, graphs and tables.
  5. Discussion or Conclusion: interpretation, implications and limitations of the study.
  6. References: bibliography of material cited in the article.

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