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6 Types of Empirical Evidence

Empirical evidence is information that is obtained by observation or experimentation. This is the basis for empirical research such as scientific research or management accounting. The following are common types of empirical evidence.


All empirical evidence processed by the human mind is perceived via senses such as sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. In addition to these major senses humans are known to have other senses such as mechanoreception that allows us to feel vibrations.


Machines have devices that are analogous to the human senses known as sensors that are able to record the physics of the universe. Sensors can record things that are imperceptible to humans such as light outside the visible spectrum. This can be translated to numbers, textual data and visualizations that can be understood by people.

Quantitative Information

Information that is collected using standard measurements that are known to produce consistent results such as a calibrated scale for weighing things.

Qualitative Information

Information that doesn't directly map to a numerical value such as an observation of the color of a flame. Qualitative information is often based on human observation. For example, a patient who rates their symptoms on a scale. Qualitative information can vary from one observer to the next.


An experiment is a procedure that is carried out to support, refute or validate a hypothesis. Ideally, all variables are controlled and an experiment has repeatable procedures that can be independently verified by multiple observers. However, in many cases there are limitations to controls and repeatability such as a natural experiment that is outside the control of a researcher.

Secondary Source

Empirical evidence that is directly observed is known as a primary source. Secondary sources of empirical evidence include any value-added processes that are based on primary sources such as descriptions, interpretations, inference, deduction, analysis, data processing, calculations, algorithms, heuristics, evaluation, aggregation, summarization and peer review. For example, sensor data from a weather station is primary empirical evidence and weather forecasts produced by algorithms or artificial intelligence are secondary sources of empirical evidence.
Overview: Empirical Evidence
Information that is obtained by observation or experimentation.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about experiments.
Alternative Hypothesis
Control Group
Dependent Variable
Empirical Evidence
Experiment Design
Experimental Error
Explanatory Power
Natural Experiment
Negative Control
Negative Correlation
Null Hypothesis
Original Research
Positive Control
Positive Correlation
Primary Research
Qualitative Info
Random Assignment
Random Error
Scientific Control
Scientific Fact
Soft Science
Systematic Error
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A guide to designing and conducting experiments.

Negative Control

The definition of negative control with examples.

Systematic Error

The definition of systematic error with examples.

Random Assignment

The common types of random assignment for experiments.

Natural Experiment

The definition of natural experiment with examples.


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Random Error

The definition of random error with examples.


An overview of precision with detailed examples.

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The basic types of data.

Qualitative Data vs Quantitative Data

The difference between qualitative data and quantitative data.

Small Data vs Big Data

The difference between big data and small data.

Small Data

The definition of small data with examples.

Machine Readable

The definition of machine readable with examples.

Unstructured Data

A definition of unstructured data with examples.
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