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The Production of Knowledge

Edited by Colin Elman, Syracuse University, New York, John Gerring, University of Texas, Austin, James Mahoney, Northwestern University, Illinois

Cambridge Press University, March 2020

Cover of the book The Production of Knowledge

Whilst a great deal of progress has been made in recent decades, concerns persist about the course of the social sciences. Progress in these disciplines is hard to assess and core scientific goals such as discovery, transparency, reproducibility, and cumulation remain frustratingly out of reach. Despite having technical acumen and an array tools at their disposal, today's social scientists may be only slightly better equipped to vanquish error and construct an edifice of truth than their forbears – who conducted analyses with slide rules and wrote up results with typewriters. This volume considers the challenges facing the social sciences, as well as possible solutions. In doing so, we adopt a systemic view of the subject matter. What are the rules and norms governing behavior in the social sciences? What kinds of research, and which sorts of researcher, succeed and fail under the current system? In what ways does this incentive structure serve, or subvert, the goal of scientific progress?