Empirical research draws from observed or measured phenomena and derives knowledge from actual experimentation or observation. Empirical research articles are considered original, primary research. In these types of articles, readers will generally find the following sections organized by IMRaD format (Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion).

  • (I)ntroduction: Includes the research hypotheses and the literature review (current research on or related to the topic).

Introduction section of an empirical article


  • (M)ethods: How the research was conducted, including participants, research design, and measures used.

Methods section of an empirical article


  • (R)esults: What did researchers learn from their study/experiment--this section may include statistical data and research participant quotes.

Results section of an empirical article

  • (D)iscussion:  Research conclusions that state why the study was important and its impact on future research and/or practices.

Discussion section of an empirical article

Also check out:

How to find an empirical research article in PsycInfo (video).

If you need additional assistance, please ask a librarian.