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Empirical research is
research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue. A research project may be an expa ...

research
using
empirical evidence Empirical evidence for a proposition In logic and linguistics, a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence (linguistics), sentence. In philosophy, "Meaning (philosophy), meaning" is understood to be a non-linguistic entity which is s ...
. It is also a way of gaining knowledge by means of direct and indirect
observation Observation is the active acquisition of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its characteristics. Th ...

observation
or
experience Experience refers to conscious , an English Paracelsian physician Consciousness, at its simplest, is " sentience or awareness of internal and external existence". Despite millennia of analyses, definitions, explanations and debates by philosoph ...

experience
.
Empiricism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...
values some research more than other kinds. Empirical evidence (the record of one's direct observations or experiences) can be analyzed
quantitatively
quantitatively
or qualitatively. Quantifying the evidence or making sense of it in qualitative form, a researcher can answer empirical questions, which should be clearly defined and answerable with the evidence collected (usually called
data Data (; ) are individual facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to experience. Standard reference works are often used ...

data
). Research design varies by field and by the question being investigated. Many researchers combine qualitative and quantitative forms of analysis to better answer questions that cannot be studied in laboratory settings, particularly in the social sciences and in education. In some fields, quantitative research may begin with a research question (e.g., "Does listening to vocal music during the learning of a word list have an effect on later memory for these words?") which is tested through experimentation. Usually, the researcher has a certain
theory A theory is a rational Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, G ...

theory
regarding the topic under investigation. Based on this theory, statements or
hypotheses A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation An explanation is a set of statements usually constructed to describe a set of facts which clarifies the causes, context Context may refer to: * Context (language use), the rel ...

hypotheses
will be proposed (e.g., "Listening to vocal music has a negative effect on learning a word list."). From these hypotheses, predictions about specific events are derived (e.g., "People who study a word list while listening to vocal music will remember fewer words on a later memory test than people who study a word list in silence."). These predictions can then be tested with a suitable
experiment An experiment is a procedure carried out to support or refute a , or determine the or of something previously untried. Experiments provide insight into by demonstrating what outcome occurs when a particular factor is manipulated. Experime ...

experiment
. Depending on the outcomes of the experiment, the theory on which the hypotheses and predictions were based will be supported or not, or may need to be modified and then subjected to further testing.


Terminology

The term
empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition In logic and linguistics, a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence (linguistics), sentence. In philosophy, "Meaning (philosophy), meaning" is understood to be a non-linguistic entity which is s ...
was originally used to refer to certain
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
practitioners of medicine who rejected adherence to the
dogma Dogma is a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted. It may be in the form of an official system of principle, principles or doctrine, doctrines of a religion, such as Catholic Churc ...

dogma
tic doctrines of the day, preferring instead to rely on the observation of
phenomena A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable fact or event. The term came into its modern philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...
as perceived in experience. Later
empiricism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...
referred to a theory of
knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to e ...
in philosophy which adheres to the principle that knowledge arises from experience and evidence gathered specifically using the senses. In scientific use, the term empirical refers to the gathering of data using only evidence that is observable by the senses or in some cases using calibrated scientific instruments. What early philosophers described as empiricist and empirical research have in common is the dependence on observable data to formulate and test theories and come to conclusions.


Usage

The researcher attempts to describe accurately the interaction between the instrument (or the
human senses Sense relates to any of the systems and corresponding organs involved in sensation, i.e. the physical process of responding to Stimulus (physiology), stimuli and providing data for perception. During sensation, sense organs collect stimuli for Tran ...

human senses
) and the entity being observed. If instrumentation is involved, the researcher is expected to
calibrate In measurement technology and metrology 290px, alt=Man in white standing in front of a large machine, A scientist stands in front of the Microarcsecond Metrology (MAM) testbed. Metrology is the scientific study of measurement ' Measurement ...
his/her instrument by applying it to known standard objects and documenting the results before applying it to unknown objects. In other words, it describes the research that has not taken place before and their results. In practice, the accumulation of evidence for or against any particular theory involves planned
research design Research design refers to the overall strategy utilized to carry out research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of in ...
s for the collection of
empirical data Empirical evidence is the information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its characteristics. The concept of ' ...
, and academic rigor plays a large part of judging the merits of
research design Research design refers to the overall strategy utilized to carry out research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of in ...
. Several typologies for such designs have been suggested, one of the most popular of which comes from Campbell and Stanley.Campbell, D. & Stanley, J. (1963). ''Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research''. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. They are responsible for popularizing the widely cited distinction among pre-experimental,
experimental An experiment is a procedure carried out to support, refute, or validate a hypothesis A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method ...
, and
quasi-experimental A quasi-experiment is an empirical interventional study used to estimate the causal impact of an intervention on target population without random assignment. Quasi-experimental research shares similarities with the traditional experimental design or ...
designs and are staunch advocates of the central role of randomized experiments in
educational research Educational research refers to the systematic collection and analysis of data related to the field of education. Research may involve a variety of methods and various aspects of education including student learning, teaching methods, teacher tra ...
.


Scientific research

Accurate analysis of data using standardized statistical methods in
scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...

scientific
studies is critical to determining the validity of empirical research.
Statistical Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with a statist ...

Statistical
formulas such as regression,
uncertainty coefficient In statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with ...
, t-test, chi square, and various types of
ANOVA Analysis of variance (ANOVA) is a collection of statistical model A statistical model is a mathematical model that embodies a set of statistical assumptions concerning the generation of Sample (statistics), sample data (and similar data from a lar ...
(analyses of variance) are fundamental to forming logical, valid conclusions. If empirical data reach significance under the appropriate statistical formula, the research
hypothesis A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation An explanation is a set of statements usually constructed to describe a set of facts which clarifies the causes, context Context may refer to: * Context (language use), the rel ...
is supported. If not, the null hypothesis is supported (or, more accurately, not rejected), meaning no effect of the
independent variable Dependent and Independent variables are variables in mathematical modeling A mathematical model is a description of a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to f ...
(s) was observed on the
dependent variable Dependent and Independent variables are variables in mathematical modeling, statistical modeling and experimental sciences. Dependent variables receive this name because, in an experiment, their values are studied under the supposition or demand ...
(s). The outcome of empirical research using statistical hypothesis testing is never ''proof''. It can only ''support'' a hypothesis, ''reject'' it, or do neither. These methods yield only probabilities. Among scientific researchers, empirical ''evidence'' (as distinct from empirical ''research'') refers to objective evidence that appears the same regardless of the observer. For example, a thermometer will not display different temperatures for each individual who observes it. Temperature, as measured by an accurate, well
calibrated In measurement technology and metrology, calibration is the comparison of measurement ' Measurement is the number, numerical quantification (science), quantification of the variable and attribute (research), attributes of an object or event, whic ...

calibrated
thermometer (mercury-in-glass thermometer) for measurement of room temperature. A thermometer is a device that temperature measurement, measures temperature or a temperature gradient A temperature gradient is a physical quantity that describes in which dir ...

thermometer
, is empirical evidence. By contrast, non-empirical evidence is subjective, depending on the observer. Following the previous example, observer A might truthfully report that a room is warm, while observer B might truthfully report that the same room is cool, though both observe the same reading on the thermometer. The use of empirical evidence negates this effect of personal (i.e., subjective) experience or time. The varying perception of empiricism and rationalism shows concern with the limit to which there is dependency on experience of sense as an effort of gaining knowledge. According to rationalism, there are a number of different ways in which sense experience is gained independently for the knowledge and concepts. According to empiricism, sense experience is considered as the main source of every piece of knowledge and the concepts. In general, rationalists are known for the development of their own views following two different way. First, the key argument can be placed that there are cases in which the content of knowledge or concepts end up outstripping the information. This outstripped information is provided by the sense experience (Hjørland, 2010, 2). Second, there is construction of accounts as to how reasoning helps in the provision of addition knowledge about a specific or broader scope. Empiricists are known to be presenting complementary senses related to thought. First, there is development of accounts of how there is provision of information by experience that is cited by rationalists. This is insofar for having it in the initial place. At times, empiricists tend to be opting skepticism as an option of rationalism. If experience is not helpful in the provision of knowledge or concept cited by rationalists, then they do not exist (Pearce, 2010, 35). Second, empiricists hold the tendency of attacking the accounts of rationalists while considering reasoning to be an important source of knowledge or concepts. The overall disagreement between empiricists and rationalists shows primary concerns in how there is gaining of knowledge with respect to the sources of knowledge and concept. In some of the cases, disagreement at the point of gaining knowledge results in the provision of conflicting responses to other aspects as well. There might be a disagreement in the overall feature of warrant, while limiting the knowledge and thought. Empiricists are known for sharing the view that there is no existence of innate knowledge and rather that is derivation of knowledge out of experience. These experiences are either reasoned using the mind or sensed through the five senses human possess (Bernard, 2011, 5). On the other hand, rationalists are known to be sharing the view that there is existence of innate knowledge and this is different for the objects of innate knowledge being chosen. In order to follow rationalism, there must be adoption of one of the three claims related to the theory that are deduction or intuition, innate knowledge, and innate concept. The more there is removal of concept from mental operations and experience, there can be performance over experience with increased plausibility in being innate. Further ahead, empiricism in context with a specific subject provides a rejection of the corresponding version related to innate knowledge and deduction or intuition (Weiskopf, 2008, 16). Insofar as there is acknowledgement of concepts and knowledge within the area of subject, the knowledge has major dependence on experience through human senses.


Empirical cycle

A.D. de Groot's empirical cycle:Heitink, G. (1999). ''Practical Theology: History, Theory, Action Domains: Manual for Practical Theology.'' Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, p. 233. #
Observation Observation is the active acquisition of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its characteristics. Th ...

Observation
: The observation of a phenomenon and inquiry concerning its causes. #
Induction Induction may refer to: Philosophy * Inductive reasoning, in logic, inferences from particular cases to the general case Biology and chemistry * Labor induction (birth/pregnancy) * Induction chemotherapy, in medicine * Induction period, the t ...
: The formulation of hypotheses - generalized explanations for the phenomenon. # Deduction: The formulation of experiments that will test the hypotheses (i.e. confirm them if true, refute them if false). #
Testing
Testing
: The procedures by which the hypotheses are tested and data are collected. #
Evaluation Evaluation is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bound ...

Evaluation
: The interpretation of the data and the formulation of a theory - an abductive argument that presents the results of the experiment as the most reasonable explanation for the phenomenon.


See also

*
Case study A case study involves an up-close, in-depth, and detailed examination of a particular case or cases, within a real-world context. For example, case studies in medicine may focus on an individual patient or ailment; case studies in business might co ...
*
Fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In everyday language, truth is typically ascribed to things ...
*
Field research Field research, field studies, or fieldwork is the collection of raw data outside a laboratory A laboratory (, ; colloquially lab) is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which science, scientific or technological researc ...

Field research
*
Scientific method The scientific method is an empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessible to sense experience or experimental procedure. Empirical evidence ...

Scientific method


References


External links

*
Some Key Concepts for the Design and Review of Empirical Research
{{DEFAULTSORT:Empirical Research Research
Research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue. A research project may be an expa ...
Concepts in epistemology Epistemology of science