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Science & Education

, Volume 25, Issue 3–4, pp 433–436 | Cite as

Scientific Method in the Behavioural Sciences

B. D. Haig (2014) Investigating the Psychological World: Scientific Method in the Behavioural Sciences. MIT Press, Cambridge MA, ISBN: 978-0-262-02736-6, 232 pp, price: 42 USD (hardcover)
  • Michael R. Matthews
Book Review

This is an excellent book written by a philosophically well-informed psychologist. The book outlines and appraises different understandings of scientific method in psychology, but the arguments and appraisals are equally applicable to methodological debates in science education, and to the ongoing debates about the nature of science.

The crucial first distinction made in the early pages of the book is between scientific method and scientific methodology; a distinction frequently not made and thus the source of misguided argument in education and elsewhere. “Method” and “methodology” are not synonyms.

For Haig, methodology is the study of methods; so scientific methodology is the study of scientific methods. Method is the “sequence of actions that constitute a strategy to achieve one or more research goals that have to do with the creation of knowledge” (p. 12). Method is not just the doing of things, the getting of information or data, or the following of steps; all these actions have...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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