The main difference between conceptual and empirical research is that conceptual research involves abstract ideas and concepts, whereas empirical research involves research based on observation, experiments and verifiable evidence.
Conceptual research and empirical research are two ways of doing scientific research. These are two opposing types of research frameworks since conceptual research doesn’t involve any experiments and empirical research does.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Empirical Research
– Definition, Characteristics, Uses
2. What is Empirical Research
– Definition, Characteristics, Uses
3. What is the Difference Between Conceptual and Empirical Research
– Comparison of Key Differences
Conceptual Research, Empirical Research, Research
What is Conceptual Research?
Conceptual research is a type of research that is generally related to abstract ideas or concepts. It doesn’t particularly involve any practical experimentation. However, this type of research typically involves observing and analyzing information already present on a given topic. Philosophical research is a generally good example for conceptual research.
Conceptual research can be used to solve real-world problems. Conceptual frameworks, which are analytical tools researchers use in their studies, are based on conceptual research. Furthermore, these frameworks help to make conceptual distinctions and organize ideas researchers need for research purposes.
In simple words, a conceptual framework is the researcher’s synthesis of the literature (previous research studies) on how to explain a particular phenomenon. It explains the actions required in the course of the study based on the researcher’s observations on the subject of research as well as the knowledge gathered from previous studies.
What is Empirical Research?
Empirical research is basically a research that uses empirical evidence. Empirical evidence refers to evidence verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic. Thus, empirical research is research studies with conclusions based on empirical evidence. Moreover, empirical research studies are observable and measurable.
Empirical evidence can be gathered through qualitative research studies or quantitative research studies. Qualitative research methods gather non-numerical or non-statistical data. Thus, this type of studies helps to understand the underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations behind something as well as to uncover trends in thought and opinions. Quantitative research studies, on the other hand, gather statistical data. These have the ability to quantify behaviours, opinions, or other defined variables. Moreover, a researcher can even use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to find answers to his research questions.
A.D. de Groot, a famous psychologist, came up with a cycle (figure 2) to explain the process of the empirical research process. Moreover, this cycle has five steps, each as important as the other. These steps include observation, induction, deduction, testing and evaluation.
Difference Between Conceptual and Empirical Research
Conceptual research is a type of research that is generally related to abstract ideas or concepts whereas empirical research is any research study where conclusions of the study are drawn from evidence verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.
Conceptual research involves abstract idea and concepts; however, it doesn’t involve any practical experiments. Empirical research, on the other hand, involves phenomena that are observable and measurable.
Type of Studies
Philosophical research studies are examples of conceptual research studies, whereas empirical research includes both quantitative and qualitative studies.
The main difference between conceptual and empirical research is that conceptual research involves abstract ideas and concepts whereas empirical research involves research based on observation, experiments and verifiable evidence.
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2. “Empirical Research.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Sept. 2019, Available here.
3.“Conceptual Research: Definition, Framework, Example and Advantages.” QuestionPro, 18 Sept. 2018, Available here.
4. Patrick. “Conceptual Framework: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make One.” SimplyEducate.Me, 4 Dec. 2018, Available here.
1. “APM Conceptual Framework” By LarryDragich – Created for a Technical Management Counsel meeting Previously published: First published in APM Digest in March (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Empirical Cycle” By Empirical_Cycle.png: TesseUndDaanderivative work: Beao (talk) – Empirical_Cycle.png (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia