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Social Work 662: Methods of Social Welfare Research (Lee): Research Databasesto locateEmpirical Studies

Guide Purpose

This UWM Libraries research guide was created as supplemental material for SWK662: Methods of Social Welfare Research (Professor Yura Lee) (3 cr. U/G.)

Course description: Analyze methods of social welfare research and problems in project design and programming. Characteristics of investigations directed to planning, administrative, practice, and scientific objectives

Evidence Based Literature Sources

Identifying Empirical Studies

Advanced Search Tips for Finding Articles Based on Empirical Research

Locating empirical research:
The UWM Libraries offers several databases for accessing scholarly resources based on empirical research.  Some include a coded search limiter for EMPIRICAL-based methodology.  See the Search Tips below.

Search Tips

Empirical research requires observation or actual experience that is able to be measured; the resulting empirical evidence documents the observations and can be analyzed quantitatively or qualitatively.

Characteristics to look for in empirically based research:

  • Identifies a problem, population, or research question under study

  • Methodology is stated

  • Alternate course of action may be included

  • Defines the group or issue being studied

  • May be quantitative or qualitative  [check with your course instructor or syllabus, as the course focus may be on just one or the other]

  • May include tests or surveys (embedded, as an appendix, or referred to by Proper Name)

  • May be reproducible; to be replicated or adapted to a new study


Some databases have a filter or advanced search limiter to focus results on empirical research. See the database descriptions elsewhere on this page for details.

If a filter/limiter is not available, enter keywords to match on appropriate content and/or to look for these terms in the summary abstract or article itself:

  • design

  • hypothesis

  • method

  • quantitative

  • statistic* (to match on statistic, statistics or statistical)

  • [inclusion of] charts, statistical tables or graphs