An empirical article reports on the outcome of a study based on observation or experiment carried out by the author(s).
These can also be called Primary or research articles. They contain original data and the conclusions of the researchers involved in an experiment or study.
The two main sections of an empirical article are the methodology (sometimes called the design) which describes how the study was carried out, and the results (sometimes called the findings) which lays out and analyzes the data or observations which were found. Both Quantitative and Qualitative articles are empirical.
Qualitative research includes all modes of inquiry that do not rely on numbers or statistical methods. (Encyclopedia of Nursing Research, 2012, Springer). Qualitative research typically involves interviews, surveys, or questionnaires.
Quantitative research consists of the collection, tabulation, summarization, and analysis of numerical data for the purpose of answering research questions or hypotheses. (Encyclopedia of Nursing Research, 2012, Springer).
Two types of review articles will sometimes appear in searches for empirical articles, including when using database filters. While they are secondary sources and do not represent primary research, they are important overviews of the current state of research. A recent review or analysis can be a useful source of articles. They can also point towards gaps in research or areas for further study.
Meta-analysis is a quantitative approach that permits the synthesis and integration of results from multiple individual studies focused on a specific research question. (Encyclopedia of Nursing Research, 2012, Springer).
Systematic reviews are overviews of research evidence that address a specific clinical question. The purpose of the systematic review is to provide a more comprehensive synthesis and evaluation of the state of the science in the area of interest. (Dictionary of Nursing Theory and Research, 2010, Springer).