The empirical approach is firmly based on the scientific method. It is an evidenced-based approach that relies on direct observation and experimentation. Using this approach, decisions are made based on the data derived from original experiments or observations. Likewise, non-empirical research relies on non-systematic methods such as personal experiences and opinions.
The theoretical approach typically functions as a rich source of hypotheses that can be examined empirically. Theories serve as a good source for research ideas.
Source: Essentials of Research Design and Methodology (2005) by Geoffrey Marczyk, David DeMatteo, & David Festinger
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