Psychologists and scientists use the words “empirical evidence”, “empirical research“, and “empiricism” in ‘scientific studies’.  But do we, as consumers and users of ‘scientific information’ understand what these mean?

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Psychologists and scientists use the words “empirical evidence”, “empirical research“, and “empiricism” in ‘scientific studies’.  But do we, as consumers and users of ‘scientific information’ understand what these mean?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2014) defines the word “empirical” as:

1:  originating in or based on observation or experience <empirical data>

2:  relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory <an empirical basis for the theory>

3:  capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment <empirical laws>”

  • What parts of our bodies do we rely upon when gathering empirical evidence?
  • Would you consider your day to day living experience and observations as part of empirical evidence?  Why?

The scientific method is a method of inquiry that helps us understand nature around and within us.  When we talk about “science” as only one way to explain nature, and psychology, in particular, as one way to explain human behavior, what do you think this means?  Can you think of other ways that we have used to explain behavior?

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