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Methodological approaches for comparing metabolic theory predictions to empirical data fall into two general categories: 1) determining if the general functional form of a relationship predicted by the theory is valid; and 2) determining whether the observed values of the parameters match the specific quantitative predictions made by the theory. Both of these categories of analysis rely on being able to accurately determine the best fitting form of a model with the same general functional form as that of MTE, so we will begin by discussing how this has typically been done using OLS regression on appropriately transformed data. Potential improvements to these approaches that account for statistical complexities of the data will then be considered. We will discuss methods for comparing the fitted parameters to theoretical values and how to determine if the general functional form predicted by the theory is supported by data. This will require some discussion of the philosophy of how to test theoretical models. So we will end with a general discussion of the technical and philosophical challenges of testing and developing general ecological theories.

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