• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine the ways empirical evidence should be used to make progress in different areas of knowledge

Extracts from this document...


Examine the ways empirical evidence should be used to make progress in different areas of knowledge. This essay will be investigating the ways in which empirical evidence, obtained from the empirical (or scientific) method, can be used in two different areas of knowledge. The empirical method is an elaborate method which, greatly simplified, is a scientific experiment. The areas that I have chosen to compare concerning the use of empirical evidence are the natural sciences and the human sciences where the former is much more based around empirical evidence for reasons that I will be exploring. It is interesting to note that both include the word "sciences" within their titles. Today, empirical evidence is used mainly in the areas in the knowledge of natural sciences. It is explored in academic subjects such as biology, chemistry and physics. The empirical, or scientific, method uses the following steps: 1) Define the question 2) Gather information and resources (observe) 3) Form hypothesis 4) Perform experiment and collect data 5) Analyze data 6) Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis 7) Publish results 8) Retest (frequently done by other scientists) 1 Evidently, the scientific method, the means by which empirical evidence is obtained, is a reliable and reviewed method that, if respected, allows a reliable means to conduct experiments. ...read more.


Help from one or more governments is often needed. Seeing as the empirical method seems to work well for natural sciences, why is it not used for human sciences such as geography, history and psychology, the latter being the area of knowledge that I will be using to compare with natural sciences whilst investigating the uses of empirical evidence in each of these areas? As I will explain, there are a limited number of cases where it has in fact been used within the area of human sciences. We must first ask ourselves why empirical evidence is, more often than not, avoided when it comes to investigating various areas of human sciences? Firstly, as I explained earlier on, the empirical method uses reasoning and perception as ways of knowing. The human sciences are all about the ways of knowing that are much dependant on human behaviour - language and, in particular, emotion. Psychology relies entirely on emotion. Secondly, there is the issue of being able to reproduce the circumstances and conditions that are to be experimented. In history, it would be absurd and impossible to recreate early twentieth century Europe to investigate the causes of the First World War. This is simply not feasible. ...read more.


This raises the question as to whether these experiments really need to be carried out or whether they should even be allowed to be carried out, yet again, relating back to the ethical issues. This experiment also asks the question whether Dr Watson allowed his emotions to take over his reasoning to form this conclusion. History and geography are examples where a certain amount of empirical evidence is used because, despite the fact that the scientific method is not used, they use a lot of so-called facts and evidence. And then, using this, historians put forwards opinions and arguments using the facts and evidence they have collected as back-up. This is an example where perception and language are used as reasoning to back up an idea that has come from emotion and hence using all the areas of knowing. To conclude, it is possible to use the empirical evidence in some cases in both the natural and human sciences. Having said that, the empirical method is much more widely used in the natural sciences because it uses perception and reasoning as ways of knowing and these are futile in the realms of human sciences such as psychology. The human sciences can also use a certain amount of empirical evidence but is hard to use the empirical method when emotions and language play a big part. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essays

  1. To what extent do we need evidence to support our beliefs in different areas ...

    This brings up my first knowledge issue, to what extent does the presence or lack of physical evidence in a knowledge area affect its validity? The title of this essay and this question in particular relates to my studies, and I found an answer within a personal example.

  2. Tok essay 2009

    La finalidad de los p�rrafos anteriores es mostrar que nunca podemos obtener un conocimiento certero e infalible sobre algo, siempre tendremos una duda o un error en nuestro an�lisis. Adem�s nuestro an�lisis nunca ser� igual al que realice otro sujeto.

  1. Does language play roles of equal importance in different Areas of Knowledge?

    common sense; they're still in a way using their perception and senses. A scientist looks at the data (observation) and analyzes it using his perception which is defined by his education. Science is somewhat a perception itself; it's the way that scientists view the world.

  2. TOK Evidence

    For others, combining the logic and emotion would yield the best decision, but usually my emotions conflict with my thoughts and what I feel would not produce the best decision. I think in poetry; my ideas and thoughts appear as sentence fragments, glimpses of images, and sounds.

  1. Examine the ways empirical evidence should be used to make progress in the different ...

    The outcome or product of this empirical scientific process is the formulation of theory that describes human understanding of physical processes and facilitates prediction, as the case of thermal physics which states that the greater the value for the specific heat capacity the easier it is going to increase its temperature by any injection of energy (heat).

  2. Prescribed titles question number 8

    The Chinese governor enforces death penalty in a big sport stadium and the crowds are in festival mood. However, this is still an issue and controversy around the globe. On the other hand, experience allows human to go through something and take something out of, they perceive it with what they took out of it.

  1. Emotion in Academic Subjects

    The human sciences are very different the natural sciences and math. The human sciences include subjects like psychology and sociology. The term "science" to describe these subjects can be misleading. Much of these sciences are based on theories, which can easily be affected by the emotions of the scientist developing the theory.

  2. Discuss some of the ways in which statistics can be used or misused in ...

    Basics operations like addition and its supplements are universal and this phenomenon has perpetuated into complex operators such as variance and standard deviation that are used in the calculation of statistics. However, in statistics, the manipulation of numbers leaves room for human intervention.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work