Information that you perceive and collect through your senses, or from the findings of an experiment, and by observation of patterns of occurrence and behavior is termed as Empirical Evidence.
Researchers find a base for documenting information either in theories, which are nothing but the facts well-established from past experiences, or from current findings received from experimentation of some kind.
Thus, empirical evidence is the information from the perceptions about the actions that take place in the present state.
Examples of Empirical Evidence
When you affirm that the cooked food kept in an unrefrigerated state is stale and is not worth eating, you draw this inference either from its smell or its look (may have fungal colonies on the surface). This is an example of empirical evidence.
One can further affirm this observation from findings that tell the time fungus takes to develop on the food kept outside the refrigerator. All these documented findings and experiences collected from senses together form examples of empirical evidence.
Types of Empirical Evidence
Evidence collected from Empirical research can be of two types - qualitative evidence and quantitative evidence.
Qualitative evidence is something that cannot be defined in measurements. It is employed in research done in the fields of finance, marketing and social science. Responses in this evidence are available only in the form of degrees. It keeps a record of behavior patterns exhibited by humans or social entities of any kind. The responses will be mostly like ‘How good, happy, bad, or sad’, or “Most likely, likely, least likely’, usually. This evidence may have some degree of skew in it.
Quite evident from its name, this evidence can be measured in numbers and quantities. It can be collected by using statistical or mathematical methods. The evidence is fully free from any kind of bias and is entirely based on numbers received.
How is empirical evidence collected?
Empirical evidence collection is nothing but the common ways that a researcher uses to collect data for primary research. It is collected by means of:
- Surveys: Researchers prepare questionnaires to collect responses from the people. They record the responses and draw inferences like ‘n number of people agree/disagree to a proposed statement,’ hypothetically speaking.
- Experiments: The researchers collect the materials or people and apply the tested theories on them and find the degree of complete adherence or deviation from those by referring to the results.
- Observations: An unbiased observation of the behavior of variables in their natural settings helps collect information classifiable as empirical evidence.
- Case Study: Sift through the experiences of research subjects; analyze their behavior and the factors affecting them to ascertain characteristics.
Thus, empirical evidence takes the guesswork out of the research and makes it more fact-filled. This evidence can give a definite direction to the researchers by chalking out the future course of the exploration path. It can also act as a topic for future research, allowing the explorers to take the study further from the point where it ended in the empirical research. Thus, this evidence is quite crucial for people working in research-related fields.