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Empiricism is an epistemological position that acknowledges only sensory knowledge as legitimate and can be contrasted with rationality, in which knowledge is based on reasoning and idealism, and the mind, rather than the senses, is the legitimate source of knowledge. The modern conception of empiricism, which dominates social science research, holds that experiments and observation are superior to reasoning and reflection. All evaluation is empirical in the sense that evaluation includes information about experiences, but in general, evaluation does not fall within the dominant view of empiricism in the social sciences. This is so because empiricism rejects much of the data used in making evaluative judgments and in doing evaluations, namely unobservable processes, beliefs, needs, and wants that can be inferred through observation but cannot ...

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