This is a very well explained article written by R. Kenneth Godwin. He clearly
distinguishes between normative and empirical statements using clear and easy
to understand examples.
Both normative and empirical statements are used to study political science. Both
these statements may confuse students at times. Simply put, normative
statements are value statements or opinions, and empirical statements are facts.
In other words, normative statements are what "should or ought" to be like, and
empirical statements are "what is." There are no right or wrong answers for
normative questions. Another important feature of normative and empirical
statements are hypotheses, which is an assertion that empirical evidence can
either support or reject. They are one important category of empirical statements.
The point of this article is to explain the difference between these two statements,
which Godwin does with great accuracy. He uses many examples to explain the
difference between the two statements, so it is fair to say that the point was
excellently made. I, myself was not entirely sure what both these terms meant
before reading this article but was left with no doubts after reading it.
The most persuasive part of the article is when Godwin connected normative and
empirical statements in logical arguments. He mentions that every time you
argue with someone and you both disagree, both of you are making a value
judgement. (GodwinBasically, you can summarize your argument with three
statements, two normative and one empirical. (Godwin)
For example, suppose you and your friend argue over whether schools should
teach "intelligent design" as well as evolution. Suppose the question was asked
whether a fundamentalist Christian, who rejects the theory of evolution, should be
allowed to each biology in public high school. If you answered no, your three
statement argument might look like this:
1)I would like it students knew the scientific information conceding how humans
evolved. (normative preference)