Empirical research is based on observed and measured phenomena and derives knowledge from actual experience rather than from theory or belief.
How do you know if a study is empirical? Read the subheadings within the article, book, or report and look for a description of the research "methodology." Ask yourself: Could I recreate this study and test these results?
Key characteristics to look for:
Another hint: some scholarly journals use a specific layout, called the "IMRaD" format, to communicate empirical research findings. Such articles typically have 4 components:
To find empirical articles in PsycINFO (ProQuest version):
This video compares purely empirical research with purely theoretical research to help you better understand the concepts.
This video defines correlational research, identifies key characteristics of correlational design, and includes criteria for evaluating this kind of study.
You will have to skim or read an article to determine whether or not it is a correlational study. Some authors will describe the study using that terminology. A strategy you might want to try is to use the CTRL-F keyboard shortcut to search webpages, most PDFs, and other documents.
If you press CTRL-F on your keyboard, a window will open. Try searching through the article to identify the following words that authors likely would use to describe a correlation between two or more variables.
You can try a similar strategy in a database like PsycINFO. When searching for keywords, add an asterisk * to the end of one of the incomplete words listed above.