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 falsely 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.
Hallmarks of science
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