Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 51–72 | Cite as

Outgrowing physics envy: Reconceptualizing social research

  • David P. Nichols
Changing Research Orientations and Methods

Abstract

There is a pervasive sense of unease among social scientists concerning the status of social research. This unease is rooted partly in a false dichotomy between objectivity and subjectivity and a belief that an idealized positivist version of classical physics should be the model for all sciences. Experimental methodology is one of many valid ways of obtaining knowledge and carries with its use a particular set of problems, particularly when social phenomena are studied. A reconceptualization of social research is needed, in which experimental and quasi-experimental methods are used with more caution and are supplemented by a more thorough conceptual apparatus.

Keywords

Social Scientist Health Psychology Social Issue Social Research Social Phenomenon 

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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • David P. Nichols
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Committee on Research Methodology and Quantitative PsychologyUniversity of ChicagoUSA
  2. 2.SPSS Inc.Chicago

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