PSYC 221 Abnormal Psychology (Whyte): Empirical Studies

What is an empirical study?

An empirical study is one that is based on "observation, investigation, or experiment rather than on abstract reasoning, theoretical analysis, or speculation." Empirical studies should be divided into the following parts: abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, and references. Typically these studies also include tables, figures, and charts to display collected data.

Here is an example of an empirical study:

Westervelt, H. J., Bruce, J. M., & Faust, M. A. (2016). Distinguishing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies using cognitive and olfactory measures. Neuropsychology, 30(3), 304-311. doi:10.1037/neu0000230

Finding empirical studies

Finding empirical studies is simple using RIT Library's databases! Both PsycArticles and PyscINFO allow you to narrow your results to empirical studies before you even click "Search." The steps outlined below apply to both:

  • switch from basic search to advanced search
  • look below the search bars for your available filters/limiters
  • go the the "Methodology" set of options
  • click on "Empirical"
  • Now begin your search 

A Couple Quick Tips:

  • Use quotations to group two or more words into a single entity for the search software. Otherwise, the search software not only looks for the phrase, but for each individual word, too:
    • such as, "multiple personality disorder"
  • Use an asterisk as "wildcard" for a word ending. This tells the search software to look for all the possible words that could be written after the asterisk:
    • such as, addict* will tell the search software to look for addict, addicted, addictive, addictions, addicts, addicting...
  • Use keywords and phrases, never use sentences or as a question
  • Use more of your filters for choosing: a date range, FULL TEXT, scholarly/peer-reviewed articles, geography (region/country), language, etc.
  • Grab the citation in the format you need. You may have to correct it for complete accuracy, but at least you'll have a start
  • Save the link or download and save the article. Trying to find something awesome after the fact can be brutal

Edit this Guide

Log into Dashboard

Use of RIT resources is reserved for current RIT students, faculty and staff for academic and teaching purposes only.
Please contact your librarian with any questions.

Facebook icon  Twitter icon  Instagram icon  YouTube icon