Introduction: Science, Social Science, and Measurement

  • Donald W. Katzner


Science, as practiced by physicists, chemists, biologists, and other physical scientists, is, no doubt, one of our most successful and respected intellectual enterprises. Clearly, in the case of science, success and respect have been intertwined with each other. On the one hand, science is looked up to because of its ability to explain and predict, and because, as a result, it is the primary reason for an enormous extension of, and improvement in, the quality of life that many human beings lead. Medical and biological sciences have provided cures for numerous diseases and adequate food for expanding populations. Other segments of physical science (together with the technological developments they have spawned) have given us central heating, refrigeration, the automobile, plastics, television, the computer, and much, much more. Thus success has bred respect. On the other hand, respect has brought increased funding into science along with the resources those funds provide, and it has encouraged many individuals to take up science as a career. Respect has therefore resulted in the expansion of scientific activity which, in turn, has brought forth more success. So pervasive and penetrating has been the combination of success and respect that it has led, in some quarters, to the glorification of science. Both those who practice it and scientific work itself are frequently held in the highest esteem. It is no wonder, then, that social science has often attempted to cloak itself in the mantle of science.


Social Science Physical Science Good Science Cardinal Measure Unmeasured Variable 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald W. Katzner
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MassachusettsUSA

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