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May 26, 2022 

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SCIENCE: A discipline, or topic of study, that uses the scientific method to investigate and explain the operation of the world by testing and verifying hypothesized relationships. While the term science is often used in reference to the physical sciences, including chemistry, physics, and biology, it's also relevant to social sciences, including economics, sociology, and political science. The reason is that science is not really a subject, but a method of investigation--the scientific method. The scientific method is uses theories to derived hypotheses which are verified against real world data.

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EMPIRICAL:

Based on or relating to the collection or analysis of real world data. The term empirical is commonly used as a modifier to provide contrast with theoretical. Whereas theoretical refers to abstract representations, empirical indicates actual real world observations.
Empirical observation is critical to the scientific method. Once a hypothesis is implied by a theory, empirical observation is key to the verification process. Does a hypothesis stand up to the scrutiny of empirical verification? Does it explain real world phenomena?

For example, Professor Grumpinkston might hypothesize that lower interest rates will entice consumers to purchase new cars and boost sales in the automobile industry. Being an experienced economist, the professor can easily come up with a very convincing story that explains why this will happen. Lower interest rates make it easier and less expensive to get loans. Most cars are paid for through loans. Consumers borrow to buy cars. Car sales rise. Makes sense, does it not? It must be true, right?

This, however, is merely theoretical speculation at this point. It is only a hypothesis until evaluated against empirical data. The empirical alternative is to collect interest rate and automobile sales data for the past several decades, and then apply standard statistical analysis. If the professor does this right, he should be able to generate empirical evidence indicating whether or not a relation actually exists between interest rates and automobile sales.

This is no longer theoretical speculation. It is empirical observation. He has the numbers. He can see with his own pair of nearsighted eyes that lower interest rates are accompanied by greater auto sales, or not. He can pass this information along to others who can then confirm the results with their own nearsighted eyes.

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EMPIRICAL, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2022. [Accessed: May 26, 2022].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | data | phenomenon | verification | hypothesis | theory |


Or For A Little Background...

     | scientific method | economic analysis | principle | positive economics | science | economic science |


And For Further Study...

     | abstraction | comparative statics | dismal science | economic thinking | explicit cost | seven economic rules | fallacies | physical science | social science |


Related Websites (Will Open in New Window)...

     | American Economic Association | American Association for the Advancement of Science |


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