Empirical method – what does it mean, types and methods of empirical knowledge

Empirical method – what does it mean, types and methods of empirical knowledge

The empirical method is based on sensory perception and measurements by difficult devices. Empirical methods – an important part of scientific research, on an equal basis with theoretical. Without these techniques any science, whether it be chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology – could not develop.

What does the empirical method mean?

The empirical or sensual method is a scientific knowledge of surrounding reality by practical consideration, the studied subject assuming interaction with by means of experiments and observations. Empirical methods of a research help to reveal objective laws under which there is a development of any given phenomena. These are complex and difficult steps, and they are resulted by new discoveries.

Types of empirical methods

Empirical knowledge of any science, subject is based on the standard, proved eventually methods identical to all disciplines, but in each concrete area having the specifics characteristic of science. Empirical methods, types:

  • observation:
  • experiment;
  • measurement;
  • conversation;
  • questioning;
  • poll;
  • conversation.

Empirical methods are merits and demerits

Methods of empirical knowledge unlike theoretical have the minimum potential of mistakes, shortcomings provided that the experiment repeated repeatedly and yielded similar results. Any empirical method involves sense organs of the person which are the reliable instrument of knowledge of the world around – and in it the main advantage of this method.

Methods of empirical level

Empirical methods of scientific knowledge are important for science not less, than theoretical prerequisites. By practical consideration regularities are built, hypotheses are confirmed or denied therefore the empirical method as set of the ways based on sensory perception and the data obtained by measuring devices helps to move apart the horizons of science and to receive new results.

Empirical methods of a research in pedagogics

Empirical methods of a pedagogical research are based on the same main components:

  • pedagogical observation – undertakes a certain task, a condition in which it is necessary to observe pupils and to register results of observation;
  • polls (questioning, conversation, interviewing) – help to obtain information on a certain subject, personal features of pupils;
  • studying works of pupils (graphic, written on different disciplines, creative) – supply with the information on identity of the pupil, his bent to any given subject, success in assimilation of knowledge;
  • studying school documentation (diaries, class books, personal records) – allows to estimate success of pedagogical process in general.

Empirical methods in psychology

The psychological science developed from philosophy and the most basic instruments of knowledge of others mental reality accepted methods by means of which it is possible to see visually manifestations of mentality outside is experiments. The physiological psychology thanks to which the psychology in general, promoted as science was based by the psychologist, the physiologist V. Vundt. Its laboratory of experimental psychology was open in 1832. Empirical methods of a research in the psychology used by Vundt are applied in classical experimental psychology:

  1. Observation method. Studying behavioural reactions and actions of the personality under natural conditions and in experimental conditions with the set variables. Two types of observation: the introspektion (introspection, a look inside) – a necessary element of self-knowledge and tracking changes in itself and objective observation – the observer (psychologist) traces and registers reactions, emotions, actions for the observed person or group of people.
  2. Experiment method. In laboratory (laboratory experiment) – the special conditions necessary for confirmation of a psychological hypothesis or its rejection are created. By means of the special equipment, sensors various physiological parameters (pulse, breath, brain activity, reactions of a pupil, change of behavior) are registered. Natural (a natural experiment) it is carried out in conditions, habitual for the person, with creation of the necessary situation.
  3. Poll – providing information by the person by answers to a series of questions.
  4. The conversation – an empirical method the psychologist based on verbal communication, during which notes psychological features of the personality.
  5. Tests are specially developed techniques including a number of questions, unfinished offers, work with images. Personal features help psychologists to reveal testing for certain subjects.

Empirical method in economy

The empirical or skilled method in economy assumes knowledge of reality of an economic situation of the world, it is carried out by means of tools:

  1. Economic observation – is carried out by economists for purposeful perception of the economic (economic) facts, at the same time there is no active impact on these facts, observation is important for creation of theoretical models of economy.
  2. Economic experiment – here already joins active impact on the economic phenomenon, different conditions within the experiment are modelled and influence is studied.

If to take a separate segment of economy – goods turnover, then empirical methods of merchandizing will be the following:

  • measurements by means of technical devices or sense organs (a method operation measuring, organoleptic;
  • inspection and monitoring of the market (methods actions).

Empirical methods in mathematics

The mathematics not experimental science, but if to consider it from several parties, that is a deductive part which reflects already ready verified theories and is "near-mathematical", preceding a deductive part:

  • accumulation of the facts (empirical knowledge in the form of acquisition of experience, sudden flashes of insight);
  • application of experience for justification of the existing hypotheses.

Empirical level of knowledge played an invaluable role in formation and development of mathematics as independent theoretical science. Today teachers of mathematical disciplines use empirical methods (observation, measurement, an experiment) "to kindle" inquisitive minds, to attract interest of pupils in exact discipline, the pupil at the same time from the passive user becomes an experimenter and understands how there was any given formula, the equation that does studying mathematics interesting and memorable.


Author: «MirrorInfo» Dream Team