All sciences—whether natural, physical, or social—rely on empirical evidence. Empirical evidence is an essential part of how scientists learn about the world. Although you may have learned about the scientific method in science classes, there are many methods that scientists use, and their use depends on the particular branch of science: astronomers, botanists, and chemists use very different methods. Within psychology broadly, and within human development specifically, researchers rely on a broad set of methods, all of which produce empirical evidence.

Regardless of whether one is conducting research in physics or psychology, we can characterize the process of science as systematic inquiry designed to answer well-defined research questions. In some disciplines, scholars may pose conceptual or philosophical questions. Although legitimate forms of inquiry, these are not ...

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