Michael Lank wrote:Empirical data is data that is collected through observation/experiment, as opposed to be theoretical. From the ancient Greek for 'experience'.
Although that is all true, it is not quite the whole story. Most people use "empirical" to imply a degree of scientific validity, not just any observation, experiment or experience.
For example, I might tell you that I have observed a bicycle high up in a tree. It would be unusual to call that observation "empirical". It was just my personal experience. I might have been mistaken or hallucinating.
But then I might tell you where to find the tree, and you could confirm that anyone who looks into the tree can see the bicycle there. (Though perhaps not at this time of year, when the tree is in leaf.) That makes the observation "empirical" in the usual sense, because anyone who cares to can observe the same thing.