The more or less direct results of observation and measurement, i.e., the "raw" products of experimental procedures or field observations (such as the position of a planet at a given time, relative to fixed stars). Data can be described as scientific "facts."
Phenomena are inferred from patterns of data, and thus cannot be straightforwardly observed. Kepler's laws of planetary motion, for instance, are phenomena inferred from a large body of observational (astronomical) data. Phenomena may also be called "facts," but they are far more complex than data.
Theories provide explanations for phenomena. Newton's theory of gravitation explains the phenomena of Kepler's laws of planetary motion and Galileo's law of falling bodies. Theories are not facts.
Copyright © 1996 James R. Hofmann. All
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File Date: 11.19.96
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