Comparison of Conceptual and Empirical approach

The empirical and conceptual approach is the two most common approaches found in research.  We also call the conceptual approach as the analytical approach; on the other hand the empirical approach tests the hypotheses by the means of observation and experimentation. Both of these approaches have their own popularity and one cannot have a rule of thumb that would decide ones popularity or usage over the other. Also to note that both these approaches are not mutually exclusive and can be easily applied in the distinct aspects of a specific research.

If we talk of empirical research, the collection of data takes place through the means of observation and experimentation. In the case when we have a hypothesis and two scientists are working on it separately, by collecting information by the means of observation and experimentation the results may vary marginally as the perception of both the researchers is bound to vary and reflect in the observation part of the research.

In the field of social sciences and philosophy, the preferred approach is conceptual analysis. The researcher here disintegrates a concept into smaller constituents so that a deeper understanding of the philosophical issues can be achieved. It is widely used and accepted method but it has a lot of criticism from the authorities in research. The majority has the view that it is a useful method for analysis but has to be put to use on combination with the other methods so that better results can be achieved and the understanding of the output is deeper.

These differences can be summarized as here under:

  1.  Empirical and conceptual research are the two distinct approaches
  2. Empirical research as its basis on observation and experimentation
  3. Empirical research produces results that are verifiable and  have greater application in scientific studies
  4. Conceptual analysis finds its ground in social sciences, philosophy and humanities
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