Empirical/Non-empirical Theses

Another question is about what makes a theses empirical or not.

The simple answer is about the need to design a study, collect and analyse data.

A thesis can involve original research that involves a study collecting and analysing data. This would define it as an empirical thesis leading to a science degree. If the thesis does not involve data collection, but instead relies on a systematic review of literature leading to a new or different way to look at a problem, this would result in a non-empirical thesis that would lend itself to an arts qualification.

Both are necessary and important in moving an area forward. As this is an applied area (applying the principles of psychology to education), an empirical outcome is less likely – although if a teacher were doing the programme, they might want to introduce an intervention in the classroom, and report it as a part of their work.


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