Competency Group: Business
Description: Empirical studies are a way of gaining knowledge by means of direct and indirect observation or experience. Empirical evidence (the record of one's direct observations or experiences) can be analyzed quantitatively or qualitatively. The application of this methodology to new product development enables the development team methods through which they can gauge the popularity and usability and hence market for new products. This is often done by making models of the products and gauging the reaction of the users to the model. This gives the development team valuable insight into the usability of the new product.
Citation for Description: Empirical research. (2011). Retrieved by Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empirical_research.
Advantages: Empirical methods mean those which use experimentation to determine or estimate actual values, for example, frequencies ("how many") or relative proportions. This is good because these experiments are observable, able to be confirmed, and easily replicated.
Limitations: "Too often, short run experiments (too few number of trials) result in invalid conclusions."
Target Audience: Top management, Marketing, R&D
Relevant to Universal Design: Yes
Stages and Steps: 2.2, 3.2
Free Resource: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (n.d.). Chapter 2.3: Conducting a feasibility study. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/docrep/W6864E/w6864e09.htm.