E. G. Boring, C. Murchison, and Clark University: Research Practice and Practical Politics

  • Dale Stout
Conference paper
Part of the Recent Research in Psychology book series (PSYCHOLOGY)

Summary

In 1926 E. G. Boring and Carl Murchison debated the merits of differing methodological approaches to psychological research. Although their debate received little attention, it provides an incident which demonstrates the complexity of placing methodological debates in their context. The debate is centered on the clear methodological split between experimental and correlational approaches to research. Yet even this divide does not receive unambiguous expression. In the case of Boring and Murchison quite local institutional politics interact with a long lasting divide as to the sites where valid psychological knowledge could be produced and the types of competence required to certify it. I argue that this debate was not merely a testing of their adversary’s defences concerning differing epistemological points. Rather, Boring and Murchison fashioned their arguments with the principle aim to damage careers, not to persuade the other of the cogency of a methodological position. Further, this debate suggests that because methodology holds a strategical ground in our science for establishing group identities, differences over research practice tend to cut to the fabric of our social relations.

Keywords

Fatigue Defend Stam 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dale Stout

There are no affiliations available

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