Empirical research is research based on evidence derived from direct and indirect observation or experience, and experimentation. If the data can be analyzed, it undergoes quantitative and qualitative research.

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Empirical cycle according to A.D. de Groot

Adriaan de Groot's empirical cycle:[1]

  1. Observation: The observation of a phenomenon and inquiry concerning its causes.
  2. Induction: The formulation of hypotheses - generalized explanations for the phenomenon.
  3. Deduction: The formulation of experiments that will test the hypotheses (i.e. confirm them if true, refute them if false).
  4. Testing: The procedures by which the hypotheses are tested and data are collected.
  5. Evaluation: The interpretation of the data and the formulation of a theory - an abductive argument that presents the results of the experiment as the most reasonable explanation for the phenomenon.


  1. Heitink, G. (1999). Practical Theology: History, Theory, Action Domains: Manual for Practical Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, p. 233. ISBN 9780802842947