The Basic Difference between Theoretical Research and Empirical Discussion: Taking the Exploration of Ancient History as an Example
Social Sciences in China Review
The Basic Difference between Theoretical Research and Empirical Discussion: Taking the Exploration of Ancient History as an Example (Abstract)
It has been acknowledged in the humanities (especially historiography in a broad sense) that, in terms of methods, theoretical research mainly follows deductive principles, and empirical research mainly follows inductive principles. Under its influence, many researchers often intentionally or unintentionally ignore the role of induction in theoretical exploration. This kind of understanding and approach is wrong. Induction is the basic method adopted by both research modes. The basic difference is not about the use of deduction or induction, but about the scale of the research object and the degree of grasp that affects the certainty of research results. Specifically, the scale of theoretical research objects is usually much larger than that of empirical research, so the degree of grasping them is much lower than that of the latter, and thus the certainty of the research results is often difficult to compare with the latter. It is the three basic differences that make the theoretical research method generate many characteristics of its own.