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Encyclopedia > Empirical evidence

Empirical research is any activity that uses direct or indirect observation as its test of reality. If atheoretical, it is a form of inductive reasoning. It may also be conducted according to hypothetico-deductive procedures, such as those developed from the work of R. A. Fisher.

The empirical researcher attempts to describe accurately the interaction between his instrument (which may be as simple as the human eye) and the entity being observed. The researcher is expected to calibrate his instrument by applying it to known standard objects and documenting the results before applying it to unknown objects.

In practice, the accumulation of evidence for or against any particular theory involves planned research designs for the collection of empirical data. Several typographies for such designs have been suggested, one of the most popular of which comes from Campbell and Stanley (1963). They are responsible for popularizing the widely cited distinction among pre-experimental, experimental, and quasi-experimental designs and are staunch advocates of the central role of randomized experiments in educational research.

The main distinguishing characteristics of scientific research are purposiveness, rigor, testability, replicability, precision and confidence, objectivity, generalizability, and parsimony.

Results from FactBites:

 Empirical method - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (458 words) Empirical method is generally meant as the collection of a large amount of data on which to base a theory or derive a conclusion in science. The empirical method is not sharply defined and is often contrasted with the precision of the experimental method, where data are derived from the systematic manipulation of variables in an experiment. This is counter to one of the main tenets of the scientific method, that of the hypothetico-deductive method, where the manipulation of the variable in an experiment is dictated by the hypothesis being tested.
 Empirical research - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (222 words) Empirical research is any activity that uses direct or indirect observation as its test of reality. The empirical researcher attempts to describe accurately the interaction between his instrument (which may be as simple as the human eye) and the entity being observed. In practice, the accumulation of evidence for or against any particular theory involves planned research designs for the collection of empirical data.
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