Empirical research is configured as a methodology in which there is a need for practical proof of a given condition. Also known as field research, it seeks to prove a situation through experiments, observations or data collection.
This methodological approach is widely used in academic research, such as Monographs, Dissertations and Theses. However, there are still many doubts about its characteristics. Therefore, see the text below and understand what an empirical research.
The importance of empirical research
Empirical research is constantly criticized by researchers. Above all, those guided by ideological reasons. Philosopher Jürgen Habermas, for example, has already stated that researchers in this area are known for the “objectivist illusion” of phenomena.
Herbert Marcuse, in the same line of thought, argues that reality is much richer and more complex than the logical rationality of events, and that renouncing facticity is necessary to understand the depth of circumstances.
In this way, the results obtained through this type of research offer support to support the arguments of the theories already elaborated.
Difference between empirical and theoretical research
Both empirical research and theoretical research are extremely valid. However, knowing the research object and its dynamism well is of paramount importance to define the methodology to be used in the development of the work.
Theoretical research consists of a discussion that uses theoretical foundations to prove some phenomenon. In the development of an investigation, the researcher is based on books, academic articles (bibliographic review) and documents (documentary research) to elaborate his work.
In empirical research, the objective is to complete the research through practice and current and real data. This research model aims to understand the different perspectives of a society, accumulate information on a given issue that involves individuals, social groups and institutions, in addition to finding new global manifestations.
Areas of knowledge that most use empirical research
This research methodology is useful in all areas of knowledge. However, it is much more used by fields that aim to understand the different faces of groups, people and organizations.
For this reason, some of the areas of knowledge that most use this method are:
- Social Sciences;
- Biological Sciences (mainly in the area of health);
Types of empirical research
This methodology is divided into three main models: exploratory research, experimental research and quantitative research. However, what characterizes each of these types?
- Exploratory research: The aim of this type of research is to understand a subject and create questions related to it. In this way, the researcher studies in detail and creates hypotheses for further study.
- Experimental research: To follow this method it is important to have a very rigorous planning. Therefore, the investigator needs to define all the variables of the study, how he will conduct the research and observe changes in the research object. From the results achieved in the investigation, the researcher must analyze whether they represent, in fact, reality. However, it is necessary to highlight that these answers can be influenced by errors in the choice of the sample.
- Quantitative Research : This method relies on numbers to understand a particular subject. In other words: it uses the amount of information provided to diagnose the problems and the dimension of a situation. Based on the results provided by the research, the investigator can make decisions or formulate other hypotheses.
Why conduct a survey?
Research is configured as activities that aim to understand social phenomena, question theories and find answers to the various problems of a society.
Motivated by some problem in practical life (diseases, social issues, problems related to the environment, technology, among other things), research seeks to provide bases for these problems to be solved.
Faced with the various dilemmas that plague the world, research becomes increasingly fundamental to allow the advancement of science and the search for knowledge.
First steps in the field of research
Some people begin to develop research in elementary or high school, through school work proposed by teachers in the classroom.
However, most develop an interest in this area in Higher Education. This is because educational institutions (public and private) carry out Scientific Initiation projects so that students become interested in the field of research.
During this process, they learn about methodology, theoretical framework, research object, as well as other issues involving the academic world.
As a result, many choose to pursue a career as researchers and continue their investigations in master’s and doctoral programs at universities in the country.
Academic life challenges
It is important for the person to know that the academic career is quite challenging. In addition to the time-consuming financial return, it is necessary to deal with study difficulties, incentives for the research area, as well as the complexity of the phenomena that motivate investigations.
However, although the adversities are many, the research becomes significant when the results appear and can serve to guide or solve people’s problems.
Empirical research is a method that facilitates the understanding of some questions of interest to a researcher, as well as contributes to the formulation of hypotheses on that topic.
Therefore, this methodology is presented as something effective to contribute to the advancement of research and dissemination of knowledge. However, given the social relevance of research, it is important to assess the extent to which empirical research can help in the search for answers to a question.