I'm trying to describe an approach that doesn't just blindly follow established opinion, but seeks validation through experimentation. Any ideas?
In the context of your description, I would offer pragmatic. From TheFreeDictionary:
- Dealing or concerned with facts or actual occurrences; practical.
Though, this may not be connotatively sound given your circumstance, so you could perhaps go with empirical. Again, from TheFreeDictionary:
Relying on or derived from observation or experiment: empirical results that supported the hypothesis.
Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment: empirical laws.
Both of these terms are often used in science in relation to experimentation.
I'd guess an extreme opposite would be skeptic:
Someone who habitually doubts beliefs and claims presented as accepted by others, requiring strong evidence before accepting any belief or claim.
How about amenable :
1.Willing to respond to persuasion or suggestions.
2.Willing to comply with; agreeable.
There are the alternatives: