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Explanation of Empirical Evidence With Examples You Need to See

Explanation of Empirical Evidence with Examples
Empirical evidence is crucial to provide credibility to any form of research. This EduZenith post provides an explanation of this term, along with some examples.
EduZenith Staff
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
What is empirical evidence?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word empirical [evidence] as follows -

1. originating in or based on observation or experience.

2. relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory.

3. capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment.
Empirical evidence means that evidence which is collected through observation, study, and experimentation. It can actually be called a scientific method, wherein the scientists generate a set of questions about the research topic, and record their findings before forming a hypothesis. The study is conducted on a large study group, and the conclusions that are drawn are known as empirical evidence. It is an evidence that must remain the same even when the observer changes.

Scientists come up with a fixed method of conducting the research and collecting the evidence. The methods are devised in such a way that the information obtained will be accurate, correct, and credible. Veering from the method can cause a fluctuation in the results, thus harming the research.

In case of scientific experiments, where the data is quantitative, the research is conducted multiple times on various subjects to assess the accuracy of the results. To minimize the possibility of human error and bias, there are usually multiple researchers involved in the experiment. This also helps to ensure that no methods other than the ones prescribed are used, as this can lead to differences in the results. Empirical evidence and data is peer-reviewed to ensure its correctness; incorrect, factually wrong, or poorly-researched data is disproved.
Examples of Empirical Evidence
In Psychology
Man taking drugs
Empirical evidence becomes slightly tricky when it comes to psychology, as it is human nature to make assumptions and pass judgements. For example, you may say that a teenager does drugs because he is depressed. However, research has shown that peer pressure, upbringing, and home environment also play major roles in the lives of many of these teens. Another example is that a rebellious child may be branded as 'spoiled' by many, but studies show that such activities are meant to get the attention of the parents, if the child is otherwise left to his/her own means.
In Science
Checking thermometer
A very common and everyday example of empirical evidence in science is the temperature shown by a thermometer. The mercury gives a near-accurate reading of the body temperature of a person affected by fever. The same person may seem cool to touch to one person, and extremely hot to another. This depends on various factors, one being the temperature of the feeler's hand! The mercury is more reliable, as it displays the same result to all the observers.
In Sociology
Girls talking
Suppose you want to find the standard of living of the people of a certain neighborhood. You can conduct research on the average wage limit of the residents. If there are people from various economic strata living in the same place, then you will have to arrive at some approximate figures. You may also have to consider other factors like the number of earning and dependent family members, mortgage, rent, hospital bills, etc. All these figures along with sources from any previous material will help you arrive at an average figure.
In Education
Project explanation
Professors from the San Jose State University collaborated with education experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to create what they called a 'flipped classroom', to help students of the "Engineering in Electronics and Circuits" course score better in class. Students watched lecture CDs at home, and classroom sessions were only interactive. Examinations conducted later on showed a significant rise in the students' test scores. Conversely, those following the traditional classroom format scored consistently lesser. This study was conducted over several batches.
In Neuroscience
Kids playing video game
One popular example, and a common topic for research, is the effect video games have on children. Many studies have been conducted over the years, especially pertaining to violent games. Studies include observing children by letting them play the games and noting their behavior afterward, after which researchers may rate their findings in certain pre-decided parameters, for example - 'shows low signs of violence', 'moderate signs of violence', and 'high signs of violence'. The age group, gender, home environment, and upbringing also play major roles in such studies.
When it comes to conducting any scientific research or study, the larger the group, the more accurate is the data, as the human race is dynamic and every individual is unique. Empirical evidence is a very important part of research, without which the world would not have progressed as much as it has today.