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How to Find Articles Based on Experimental Research/CDS

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What is Experimental Research?

"Experimental Research" is based on observed and measured phenomena and derives knowledge from actual experience rather than from theory or belief.  This type of research may be referred to as Empirical Research, Qualitative Research, or Quantitative Research.  How do you know if a study is experimental? Read the subheadings within the article, book, or report and look for a description of the research "methodology." Ask yourself: Would it be possible to recreate this study and test these results?


Key characteristics to look for:

  • Specific research questions to be answered
  • Definition of the population, behavior, or phenomena being studied
  • Description of the process used to study this population or phenomena, including selection criteria, controls, and testing instruments (such as surveys)

Another hint: some scholarly journals use a specific layout, called the "IMRaD" format, to communicate empirical research findings. Such articles typically have 4 components:

  • Introduction: sometimes called "literature review" -- what is currently known about the topic -- usually includes a theoretical framework and/or discussion of previous studies
  • Methodology: sometimes called "research design" -- how to recreate the study -- usually describes the population, research process, and analytical tools
  • Results: sometimes called "findings" -- what was learned through the study -- usually appears as statistical data or as substantial quotations from research participants
  • Discussion: sometimes called "conclusion" or "implications" -- why the study is important -- usually describes how the research results influence professional practices or future studies

For additional help in deciding if you have a research article, see How to Evaluate Your Article Search Results in 5 Minutes

How to Evaluate Your Article Search Results in 5 Minutes - See more at:
Research Concepts
Several methods of Experimental Research are listed below.  Click to read an encyclopedia entry about each concept. 
You may also wish to try a specific concept term in your database searching.  Results will vary because each database uses a slightly different vocabulary.
If you need additional definitions or want to explore other topics in research methodology, please search for the concept in the Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods.

Search Example: "Hawthorne effect"
screenshot of encyclopedia interface
Choosing Databases
Go to the library's home page at  Go to the Resources by Subject tab and choose Communication Disorders & Sciences

Choose a Database like these from the list of Databases:

EBSCO Databases Selected for Communication Disorders & Sciences Research
PubMed with EIU Electronic Journals
Google Scholar with EIU Electronic Journals
Finding Experimental Research in CDS
Selected EBSCO Databases for Communication Disorders & Sciences will search across several EBSCO article databases for topics in Communication Disorders & Sciences.  Several of these databases offer specific limits to identify different types of research like Empirical Research, Qualitative Research, or Quantitative Research:

To find experimental research articles:
  • Use the "Advanced Search"
  • Type your keywords into the search boxes, then press Search:

Look to the Left of the search results to choose helpful search limits like Scholarly/Peer Reviewed or to limit by publication dates

Look further down the Refine Results listings to Limit to a specific Research Methodology

PubMed with EIU Electronic Journals 1
Enter Search terms

Choose "Customize" to selct specific Article Types like Randomized Controlled Trial or Clinical Trial

Link to the articles available in fulltext from Booth Library or available as a free PMC article

If you need an article that is not available through Booth Library, you may request the article from the Booth Library Interlibrary Loan Dept. using this form

You should recieve a copy of the article in your official campus email.  If you have questions, please contact Interlibrary Loan at 217-581-6074 or Circulation Services at 217-581-6071.
PubMed with EIU Electronic Journals 2
Clinical Queries in PubMed offers another way to find research studies.  Results of searches using Clinical Queries are limited to specific clinical research areas.  Look for the link to Clinical Queries on the PubMed homepage. 

Once the search is run, all clinical study results are in the column on the far left. The default search it Therapy, which should work in most cases, but Diagnosis, Prognosis, or Etiology may be good for some searches. Etiology is especially good if you are looking for risk factors or causes.
Switching the scope to Narrow will help with broad topics.


Subject Specialist
Karen Whisler
Communication Disorders Librarian

Reference Desk 217-581-6072
Email the Reference Desk