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CJ314: Intercultural Communication: Home

Dr. Tamar Ginossar, Fall 2015

What is an empirical research study?

What is empirical research?

  • Empirical research is based on observed and measured phenomena and derives knowledge from actual experience rather than a theory or belief. 
  • Basically -- this means researchers conducted some experiment or formal observation and they are basing their ideas on their results. Usually, they use either quantitative research methods (which generate numerical data and seek to establish relationships between variables)  or qualitative research methods (which objectively and critically analyze behaviors, beliefs, feelings or values with few or no numerical data) to do their research.  

What is an empirical research article?

An empirical research article reports on the research the authors conducted.

How can I tell if I am looking at an empirical research article?

  • Check the publication in which the article appears. Is it scholarly? The vast majority of empirical articles will be in scholarly journals.
  • Read the article's abstract. Does it include details of a study, observation, or analysis of a number of participants or subjects?  Look for words that provide clues that it is an empirical study such as: variables, experiment, results, hypotheses, relationship (between variables), number of participants (N=).
  • Look at the article itself. Is it more than three pages long? Most empirical articles will be fairly lengthy.
  • Look at the article itself. If it contains a subsection marked "Methodology" and another called "Results," it is probably empirical.
  • If you find the article using the PsycInfo database, it will have a field labeled "Methodology" that will include the words "empirical research."
  • If you're still unsure, consult your professor or a librarian.


From GSU and Penn State Libraries Libguides

What is peer-review?

What does "Peer Reviewed" or "Refereed" or "Scholarly Journal" mean?

Peer Review is a process that journals use to ensure the articles they publish represent the best scholarship currently available. When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed journal, the editors send it out to other scholars in the same field (the author's peers) to get their opinion on the quality of the scholarship, its relevance to the field, its appropriateness for the journal, etc.

Publications that don't use peer review (Time, Cosmo, Salon) just rely on the judgement of the editors whether an article is up to snuff or not. That's why you can't count on them for solid, scientific scholarship.

Note:This is an entirely different concept from "Review Articles."

How do I know if a journal is peer reviewed?

Usually, you can tell just by looking. A scholarly journal is visibly different from other magazines, but occasionally it can be hard to tell. A peer-reviewed journal consists of articles written by experts for experts on a field.  The articles are not written for the layman. Here is an example of a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal to which the UNM Libraries subscribe: International Journal of Comparative Sociology


From UT Austin Libraries 

Where can I find peer-reviewed empirical research articles?

The best place to find these is in databases that include and index scholarly journal articles.  Some good ones for your research topics (related to "intercultural communication") include:

TIP: PsycInfo lets you limit by Methodology and search only for empirical articles. Other databases do not.  So for those, try searching the word "results" with your topic keywords.  Sometimes it helps to bring up empirical articles. 


Academic Discipline Related Databases


Multidisciplinary Databases

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