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In empirical study, conclusions of the study are drawn from concrete empirical evidence. This evidence is also referred to as “verifiable” evidence. This evidence is gathered either through quantitative market research or qualitative market research methods.
An example of empirical analysis would be if a researcher was interested in finding out whether listening to happy music promotes prosocial behaviour. An experiment could be conducted where one group of the audience is exposed to happy music and the other is not exposed to music at all. The participants could be given an opportunity to either help a stranger with something or not. The results are then evaluated to find whether happy music increases prosaically behavior or not.
The origin of empirical methods starts from the quote “I will not believe it unless I see it myself.” Empirical observation emerged during the renaissance with medieval science. The word empirical is derived from the Greek word ‘empeirikos’ meaning ‘experienced’.
The word empirical, in today’s day and age, refers to collecting empirical data through methods of observation, experience, or by specific scientific instruments. All of these methods are dependent on observation and experiments which are used to collect data and test the same for arriving at conclusions. Online survey tools are an extremely effective technique which can be used for empirical methods.
Empirical study uses qualitative or quantitative methods to conduct research and analyze results.
Get ready to uncover the how, when, what, and where questions in a research problem
The empirical data that is collected from either of these methods has to be analyzed. Empirical evidence is analyzed using qualitative or quantitative methods. These methods are used to answer empirical questions that are clearly defined. The type of research design used by the researcher depends on the field and the nature of the problem. Some researchers use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to answer the questions set for the research.
Quantitative research methods help in the analysis of the empirical evidence that has been gathered. By using these methods researchers can find support for their hypotheses.
For example: In market research, customers are deemed as the most important part of the organisation. It is a known fact that satisfied customers will help your organisation grow directly by remaining loyal to your company and also by becoming an advocate for your brand. Researchers can use customer satisfaction survey templates to assess their brand’s value and how likely their customers are to recommend their brand to others.
For instance, if a researcher wants to study whether their dandruff protection product is successful in curing dandruff, and the only difference between the two groups under study is the product of interest (one group uses the product while group 2 uses a placebo), then dandruff could be considered as the dependent variable and the product curing it would be called an independent variable. Now, the independent variable, here, is “manipulated” in the sense that one group is exposed to it and one is not. All things being constant, if the product cures dandruff in group 1 as opposed to the group that is using a placebo, the experimental research findings are successful. This will help in establishing a cause and effect relationship, the product is “causing” the treatment (“effect”) of dandruff.
Some examples of correlational research questions:
For example: If researchers want to understand how smoking affects the development of cancer in later stages of life, they would choose participants who are different from other observable variables but similar in one: smoking. In this case, researchers would observe the participants who started smoking from adolescence into later adulthood and examine the changes in their body that are caused due to smoking. They can see how smoking has influenced the immunity of participants, their reaction to stress, and other variables relevant to the researcher. Over time, researchers can also observe the effects of quitting smoking if some participants decide to quit smoking later in their life. This will help researchers understand the interaction between health and smoking in more detail.
For example: Let us consider a researcher who is aiming to study developmental psychology. He/she may select groups of people who are of different ages but study them at one point in time. In this way, the difference between the groups will be attributed to their age differences instead of other variables that may happen over time.
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A qualitative approach is more appropriate when tackling some research questions. This is especially true if the researcher wishes to observe the behaviors of the target audience in-depth. The results here are in descriptive form. Qualitative research is not predictive in nature. It enables researchers to build and support their theories to advance future potential quantitative research. Qualitative research methods are used to come up with conclusions to support the theory or hypothesis under study.
For example: For example; let’s assume that a researcher is interested in understanding how to effectively solve the problems of turnover in organizations. While exploring, he came across an organization that had high rates of turnover and was able to solve the problem by the end of the year. The researcher can study this case in detail and come up with methods that increased the chances of success for this organization.
For instance, if a smartphone brand wants to see how customers react to its products in a showroom, observers may be hired to note the same. The observers can use the recorded observations to evaluate and draw inferences about the customers.
For example: A one-on-one interview with an environmentalist will help to gather data on the current climate crisis in the world.
For example: Let’s assume a researcher wants to explore what are qualities consumers value when buying a laptop. This could be the display quality, battery life, brand value, or even the color. The researcher can make a focus group of people who buy laptops regularly and understand the dynamics a consumer considers when buying electronic devices.
For example: Companies ask their customers to give detailed feedback on how satisfied they are with their customer support team. This data helps them make appropriate decisions to improve their team.
Sometimes researchers use a combination of methods to answer the questions. This is especially true when researchers tackle complex subject matters.
Conducting exploratory research seems tricky but an effective guide can help.
Since empirical methods are based on observation and capturing experiences, it is important to plan the steps to conduct the experiment and how to analyze it. This will enable the researcher to resolve problems or obstacles which can occur during the experiment.
Step #1: Define the purpose of the research
The very first step is for the researcher to identify the area of research and the problem can be addressed by finding out ways to solve it. The researcher should come up with various questions regarding what is the problem, who will benefit from the research, how should they go about the process, etc. The researchers should explore the purpose of the research in detail.
Step #2 : Supporting theories and relevant literature
After exploring and finding out the purpose of the research, the researcher must aim to find if there are existing theories that have addressed this before. The researcher has to figure out whether any previous studies can help them support their research. During this stage of empirical study, the researcher should aim at finding all relevant literature that will help them understand the problem at hand. The researcher should also come up with his/her own set of assumptions or problem statements that they wish to explore.
Step #3: Creation of Hypothesis and measurement
If the researcher is aiming to solve a problem the problem has not been resolved efficiently in previous research, then the researcher creates his/her own problem statement. This problem statement, also called hypothesis, will be based on the questions that the researcher came up with while identifying the area of concern. The researcher can also form a hypothesis on the basis of prior research they found and studied during the literature review phase of the study.
Step #4: Methodology, research design and empirical data collection
Here the researcher has to define the strategies to be used for conducting the research. They can set up experiments in collecting data that can help them come up with probable hypotheses. On the basis of the hypotheses, researchers can decide whether they will require experimental or non-experimental methods for the conduction of the research. The research design will depend upon the field in which the research is to be conducted. The researchers will need to find parameters that can affect the validity of the research design. Researchers also need to choose appropriate methods of data collection, which in turn depends on the research question. There are many sampling methods that can be used by the researcher. Once, the data is collected, it has to be analysed.
Step #5: Data Analysis and result
Data can be analyzed either qualitatively and quantitatively. Researchers will need to decide which method they will employ depending upon the nature of the empirical data collected. Researchers can also use a combination of both for their study. On the basis of the analysis, the hypothesis will either be supported or rejected. Data analysis is the most important aspect of empirical observation.
Step #6: Conclusion
The researcher will have to collate the findings and make a report based on the empirical observations. The researcher can use previous theories and literature to support their hypothesis and lineage of findings. The researcher can also make recommendations for future research on similar issues.
The advantages of empirical study are highlighted below:
Empirical approach is not without its limitations. Some of them include:
Create an actionable feedback collection process.
Because most people today only believe in their experiences, empirical observation is increasingly becoming important. It is used to validate various hypotheses or refute them in the face of evidence. It also increases human knowledge and advances scientific progression.
For instance, empirical analysis is used by pharmaceutical companies to test specific drugs. This is done by administering the drug on an experimental group, while giving a placebo to the control group. This is done to prove theories about the proposed drug and check its efficacy. This is the most crucial way in which leading evidence for various drugs have been found for many years.
Empirical methods are used not just in medical science, but also in history, social science, market research, etc.
In today’s world it has become critical to conduct empirical analysis in order to support hypotheses and gather knowledge in several fields. The methods under empirical studies mentioned above help researchers to carry out research.
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