1st Edition

Problematic Research Practices and Inertia in Scientific Psychology History, Sources, and Recommended Solutions

Edited By James Lamiell, Kathleen Slaney Copyright 2021
    144 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    144 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume explores the abiding intellectual inertia in scientific psychology in relation to the discipline’s engagement with problematic beliefs and assumptions underlying mainstream research practices, despite repeated critical analyses which reveal the weaknesses, and in some cases complete inappropriateness, of these methods. Such paradigmatic inertia is especially troublesome for a scholarly discipline claiming status as a science.

    The book offers penetrating analyses of many (albeit not all) of the most important areas where mainstream practices require either compelling justifications for their continuation or adjustments – possibly including abandonment – toward more apposite alternatives. Specific areas of concern addressed in this book include the systemic misinterpretation of statistical knowledge; the prevalence of a conception of measurement at odds with yet purporting to mimic the natural sciences; the continuing widespread reliance on null hypothesis testing; and the continuing resistance within psychology to the explicit incorporation of qualitative methods into its methodological toolbox. Broader level chapters examine mainstream psychology’s systemic disregard for critical analysis of its tenets, and the epistemic and ethical problems this has created.

    This is a vital and engaging resource for researchers across psychology, and those in the wider behavioural and social sciences who have an interest in, or who use, psychological research methods.

    1. Introduction (James T. Lamiell and Kathleen L. Slaney)

    2.On the Systemic Misuse of Statistical Methods Within Mainstream Psychology (James T. Lamiell)

    3. Psychology’s Inertia: Epistemological and Ethical Implications (Fiona Hibberd)

    4. Intransigence in Mainstream Thinking About Psychological Measurement (Richard E. Hohn)

    5. Persistent Disregard for the Inadequacies of Null Hypothesis Significance Testing and the Viable Alternative of Observation Oriented Modeling (James W. Grice, Rafaele Huntjens, and Hailey Johnson)

    6. On the Interpretative Nature of Quantitative Methods and Psychology’s Resistance to Qualitative Methods (Donna Tafreshi)

    7. Is There a Waning Appetite for Critical Methodology in Psychology? (Kathleen L. Slaney)

    8. Psychology’s Struggle With Understanding Persons (Jack Martin)

    9. Summary and Commentary on Scientific Psychology's Troubling Inertia (Lisa M. Osbeck)


    James T. Lamiell retired in 2017 after 42 years as a university professor. 36 of those years were spent at Georgetown University, USA. His scholarly work has long been concentrated in the history and philosophy of psychology, with interests in psychological research methodology and in the works of the German philosopher and psychologist William Stern (1871-1938).

    Kathleen L. Slaney is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, Canada. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Her research has focused primarily on psychological meta-science.