Problems acknowledged by these methodologists:

1. In practice, scientists are sloppier than this

"The simplification of this model consists, first, in assuming that research proceeds in such a logical sequence. Sometimes, researchers have finished making their observations before the final version of the hypothesis suggests itself. Sometimes, the researcher is unaware of the most significant prior study in a given area of research until after the study has been completed, while the report is being prepared. This may change the conclusions materially.
"It is also simplistic to assume that a single research study can be planned and carried out so flawlessly that it will by itself produce a useful test of the hypothesis. Quite often, a research study produces only evidence that the researcher doesn’t yet fully appreciate the complexity of the problem, so that one or more further studies are needed to test the hypothesis satisfactorily.
"Nonetheless, this is a useful model because it makes it possible to construct a table of contents for a book and a plan for a course that follows a logical sequence. Moreover, it encompasses all the basic questions that need to be considered in a study of research methods"
Paul Cherulnik, (2001). Methods for Behavioral Research, p. x.

2. Social science often can’t use experimentation


Problems ignored by these methodologists:

3. Theory plays a more central role

4. Even experiments are problematic


Problems grappled with by the philosophers of science:

5. Verification is not possible, only falsification

6. Separating "psychology of discovery" from "logic of justification" is unjustified

7. Data are theory-laden

8. Science is not just representing, it is also intervening

9. Scientists develop research programs

10. Scientists work with–and against–each other

11. Social/human science is different from natural science




Problems with this philosophy of science:

12. It is an outdated philosophy of science

13. It presumes a "correspondence theory of truth"

14. It ignores the revolutionary moments in science

15. It ignores scientific paradigms

"Effective research scarcely begins before a scientific community thinks it has acquired firm answers to questions like the following: What are the fundamental entities of which the universe is composed? How do these interact with each other and with the senses? What questions may legitimately be asked about such entities and what techniques employed in seeking solutions? At least in the mature sciences, answers (or full substitutes for answers) to questions like these are firmly embedded in the educational initiation that prepares and licenses the student for professional practice. Because that education is both rigorous and rigid, these answers come to exert a deep hold on the scientific mind. That they can do so does much to account both for the peculiar efficiency of the normal research activity and for the direction in which it proceeds at any given time. When examining normal science [...] we shall want finally to describe that research as a strenuous and devoted attempt to force nature into the conceptual boxes supplied by professional education."
Kuhn, T. S. (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 4-5.


What is a paradigm?

- a "disciplinary matrix":
- "the common possession of the practitioners of a professional discipline"
- composed of various elements:

- symbolic generalizations (the formal components)
- models (which "provide the group with preferred analogies or, when deeply held, with an ontology." These range from the heuristic to the metaphysical)
- exemplars (accepted "concrete problem solutions")

Kuhn, T. Second Thoughts on Paradigms, in The Essential Tension, 1977, University of Chicago Press.

- common assumptions, attitudes, and expectations
- a framework within which inquiry operates
- one which even provides the terms of disagreements
- a shared sense:

- of what scientific inquiry is, and ought to be
- of what kind of reality is being investigated
- of the proper objects of inquiry, and their general character

- an orientation, an attitude, a style, a way of life
- with consequences for views of:

- the nature of empirical knowledge
- the relations of theory and practice
- the relations of fact and value
- the relations of empirical and normative theory
- the education and role of the theorist

Bernstein, R. J. The Restructuring of Social and Political Theory, 1976, University of Pennsylvania Press.

16. It ignores the hermeneutic character of even natural science

Latour and Woolgar propose that the phenomena with which laboratory participants deal are "thoroughly constituted by the material setting of the laboratory" (p. 64, original emphasis).
"[I]f our observer was to imagine the removal of certain items of equipment from the laboratory, this would entail the removal of at least one object of reality from discussion." Laboratory apparatus can be understood as "reified theory." But the material setting, an essential feature of science, is easily forgotten and very rarely receives mention. L & W examine this paradox in more detail. Their conclusion is that "[a] laboratory is constantly performing operations on statements; adding modalities, citing, enhancing, diminishing, borrowing, and proposing new combinations." This literary production is highly valued (and highly expensive, costing between $30,000 and $60,000 a paper) because by its means laboratory participants convince other scientists -- and one another -- of the existence of matters of fact.

Latour, B., & Woolgar, S. (1979/1986). Laboratory life: The construction of scientific facts. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

17. It ignores the "double hermeneutic" of social science

"In the eagerness to build a new natural science of human beings, there has been a tendency to generalize from regularities of a regnant moral paradigm, and to claim we are discovering universal laws that govern human beings. The most serious defect in this endeavor is not simply unwarranted generalizations, but the hidden ideological bases. There has been a lack of critical self-consciousness among mainstream social scientists that the admonition to be ‘realistic,’ to study the way things are, is not so much a scientific imperative as a dubious moral imperative that has pernicious consequences in limiting human imagination and political and social possibilities. Scientism in social and political studies has become a powerful albeit disguised ideology"

Richard Bernstein, (1976). The restructuring of social and political theory, p. 106.