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SOCW 6000 Week 7 Assignment: Week 7

Learning objectives

This guide will provide instruction on how to find empirical articles that address a specific social work intervention. By the end of the guide you should be able to:

  • identify key aspects of an empirical article
  • develop appropriate keywords to use in a database search for empirical articles 
  • identify empirical articles in the database results list

What is an empirical article?

An empirical article is an article where the author or authors report on original research that they conducted.

Empirical articles can employ a qualitativequantitative, or a mixed method methodology.

In most databases, you can click on an article's title and view information about that article to learn if it is an empirical study.

Abstracts are good places to learn about the type of research being reported on in the article:

Example of an abstract with the keywords, quantitative analysis and research findings, highlighted.

You can also look for a section that lists 
Tests & Measures.  If the article utilizes tests or measures you have a good indication that the article is presenting original, empirical research.

A section labeled Methodology will list any methodologies used.  Like tests and measures, a methodology section indicates that the article is presenting original research and, therefore, empirical.

Empirical articles will contain the following:

  • Methods section that will discuss the methods used in the research
  • Results section that will detail the results of the research
  • Discussion section where the authors will summarize their research, its results, and discuss any current or future implications

Guide reflection

Briefly reflect on a few of the different aspects of an article that would make it an empirical article.  Can you name a few things to look for when identifying an empirical article?

Searching for articles in PsycINFO

For this assignment, you need to select a peer-reviewed, empirical article that addresses a specific social work intervention. Please see the Empirical articles page in your course guide for SOCW 6000 for more information.

Here is an example search that you can do in PsycINFO to find recent cases involving a social work intervention.  The search below is looks for articles that deal with parent education. For this assignment you will need to search for interventions that are interesting to you.  Here's the example search:

Here is how you can access the psychology resources in the Walden Library. 

1. On the Library homepage, go to the Subject Resources box.


2. Click on Select a subject and choose: Psychology.

3. In the Psychology databases box, select the database PsycINFO

3. Log in with your myWalden e-mail and password. 

4. Type your keywords into the search boxes, for example:

    First Search Box:  

social work 

    Second Search Box:  

parent education

5. Scroll down to the section labeled Methodology and select Empirical Study.


6. You may want to remove the Full Text option before clicking search.  This will allow you to locate more articles. Be sure to click Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals.


7. Click Search.

View the full text of articles by clicking PDF Full Text or HTML Full Text.


Use the Find @ Walden link to discover whether the article is available in another database.

Guide reflection

What intervention will you research?  Can you brainstorm search terms that you can use to search for articles that deal with your particular intervention?