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Difference Between Conceptual and Empirical

Conceptual vs Empirical

Empirical and conceptual are two approaches that are commonly employed while conducting a research. Conceptual is also referred to as analytical as researchers while empirical analysis is a methodology that tests a given hypothesis through observation and experimentation. Both approaches are very popular but there is no hard and fast to their application and they are not mutually exclusive so as not to be employed in different aspects of a particular research.

In empirical research, data collection is done through observation and experimentation. If there is a hypothesis, and two scientists work on it separately collecting information through observation and experimentation, they may arrive at slightly different results because of the observation part in empirical research that is bound to be different as two different persons may have different perception while conducting the observation part of the research.

Conceptual analysis is the preferred method of analysis in social sciences and philosophy. Here, a researcher breaks down a theorem or concept into its constituent parts to gain a better understanding of the deeper philosophical issue concerning the theorem. Though this method of analysis has gained popularity, there are sharp critiques of the method. However, most agree that conceptual analysis is a useful method of analysis but should be used in conjunction with other methods of analysis to produce better, understandable results.

In brief:

• Empirical and conceptual are two different approaches of research.

• While empirical is dependent upon observation and experimentation, and produces verifiable results, it is mostly used in scientific studies

• On the other hand, conceptual analysis is a popular method of research in social sciences, and philosophy and psychology.


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