Empirical Research

Key Features

These are some key features to look for when identifying empirical research in political science and criminal justice.

NOTE: Not all of these features will be in every empirical research article, some may be excluded, use this only as a guide.

  • Statement of methodology
  • Research questions are clear and measurable
  • Individuals, group, subjects which are being studied are identified/defined
  • Data is presented regarding the findings
  • Controls or instruments such as surveys or tests were conducted
  • There is a literature review
  • There is discussion of the results included
  • Citations/references are included

Empirical Research: Test your knowledge

Evaluate these articles to determine if they are empirical research or not.

Article Example


2009. "Disproportionate sales of crime guns among licensed handgun retailers in the United States: a case–control study." Injury Prevention 15, no. 5: 291-299. Criminal Justice Abstracts with Full Text, EBSCOhost (accessed October 3, 2013). http://mantis.csuchico.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=i3h&AN=44739892&site=eds-live

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