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How do I find articles that present empirical data? I need articles that are based on research.

Last Updated: Oct 18, 2012  |  1772 Views

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There are a few ways to approach this question, and it's easier in some disciplines than others. Many of our library databases allow you to set search limits that can help you find research-based articles; you can also use a tool called a thesaurus to isolate articles that use specific research methods. Let's look at examples from three different subject areas: education, psychology, and nursing.

Education

Start with the ERIC database. Scroll down to the bottom of the advanced search page, and look for the "Publication Type" menu. Scroll through the menu until you see "Numerical/Quantitative Data," then click on it.

Then, scroll back up to the top of the page and enter keywords that describe your topic. When you click "Search," you'll see articles that use your keywords AND present numerical or quantitative data.

If you want to find articles that use a specific research method, click the "Thesaurus" link at the top of the page:

Type the word "Research" into the box, then click "Browse":

Click the word "Research" from the results page, and then browse the list of narrower and related terms to find the method you're looking for. Check the box next to the terms you're interested in, then click "Add":

Add your keywords to the terms in the search box, then click "Search":

Your search results will contain your keywords AND the research method you identified.

Psychology

Start with the PsycINFO database. Scroll down to the bottom of the advanced search page, and look for the "Methodology" menu. Scroll through the menu until you find the method you want, then click on it. To select more than one method, hold down the "Ctrl" key on your keyboard and click on the terms.

Then, scroll back up to the top of the page and enter keywords that describe your topic. When you click "Search," you'll see articles that use your keywords AND fit the methodology that you selected.

PsycINFO also has a thesaurus; browse for the term "Experimentation" (not "research"), and you'll be able to select specific research method terms that you can add to your search.

Nursing

Start with the CINAHL database. Scroll down to the bottom of the advanced search page, and look for the "Research Article" box, then click on it. 

Then, scroll back up to the top of the page and enter keywords that describe your topic. When you click "Search," you'll see articles that use your keywords that also present the results of a study or experiment.

CINAHL also has a thesaurus (the link is called "CINAHL Headings"). Browse for the term "Research," and you'll be able to select specific research method terms that you can add to your search. You can also add the terms "quantitative studies" or "qualitative studies" to your search, like this (use quotation marks around each phrase):

("Personnel Staffing and Scheduling" or "Nursing Shortage") AND ("Quantitative Studies")

The PubMed database also offers options for locating research-based articles. (Note: PubMed is a free database, but you should use the special link on the library website rather than the default link. The APU link uses special parameters to include APU's Full Text Finder on results pages, which makes it much easier for you to find full-text copies of articles.)

Start by searching PubMed with keywords that describe your topic. On the left side of the page, look for a section labeled "Article Types":

Select the options that describe the type of study you're looking for, such as "Clinical Trial" or "Validation Studies." Your results will be refined to show only articles that meet the study type that you've selected:

Click the title of any articles that you're interested in reading, and use the Full Text Finder to locate full text for the article if it's not freely available:

Answered by Michelle SpomerBookmark and Share

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