Social Sciences

What is the analytical method?

We explain what the analytical method is, its logic, application, other features and examples. Also, what is the synthetic method.

What is the analytical method?

The analytical method or empirical-analytical method is a scientific study model based on direct experimentation and empirical logic. It is the most frequently used in the sciences, both in the natural sciences and in the social sciences . This method analyzes the phenomenon that it studies, that is, it breaks it down into its basic elements.

This method consists in the application of direct experience (as proposed by empiricism) to obtain evidence to verify or validate a reasoning, through verifiable mechanisms such as statistics, the observation of phenomena or experimental replication. The analytical method is one of the models proposed in the Scientific Method .

The analytical method is extremely useful in novel and unexplored fields of study, or in descriptive studies, since it uses tools that reveal essential relationships and fundamental characteristics of its object of study. In addition, it allows you to learn from both experimental successes and errors.

The empirical logic, on which this method is based, comes from the philosophy of Ancient Greece, with Aristotle himself being its greatest exponent (384-322 BC). It was subsequently transmitted through medieval Arab scholars, and finally played an essential role in shaping the experimental logic that underlies our idea of science and verifiable knowledge.

Characteristics of the analytical method

The analytical method is, first of all:

  • Practical , to the extent that it is based on verifiable facts, maintaining a healthy skepticism about what lacks rational foundations.
  • Testable empirically , given that poses the study of the phenomena of the universe by the internal logic of the mind or of religious faith, but from the observation using the senses and instruments of measurement .
  • It is progressive and self-correcting , which means that it is updated in a gradual but constant way, thus changing from one moment to another what is taken for granted, provided there is evidence to support the new proposition.
  • It depends on sampling , and for that reason it also applies to the process of collecting evidence, so as not to incur false premises or fallacies due to faulty data collection.

Examples of the analytical method

analytical method examples medicine
Medical checks apply the analytical method.

Virtually any scientific study today is a good example of the application of the analytical method. This includes experiments of the so-called “hard” science, that is, medical, biological, chemical or physical checks , in which phenomena that occur in nature are replicated under the controlled environment of a laboratory.

This is done, for example, by those studying hydrocarbons, replicating their behavior with artificially created samples, for the advancement of the petrochemical industry.

But it also applies to social science studies, such as statistical measurements of political sciences , sociology surveys or the record of verifiable experiences that serve as the basis for anthropology .

Synthetic method

The synthetic method is a very different analytical process from the one we have been defining, since it involves the reconstruction of an event as a path towards the understanding of a phenomenon .

This means that it raises the possibility of taking the key points of some phenomenon of interest and constructing a “short” version, that is, a summary , in which certain elements are emphasized and others considered less relevant are discarded.

Such a method is fundamental in the communication and transmission of information . It takes advantage of the capacity of the human mind for synthesis , that is, for the hierarchical reconstruction of an observed event.

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