Is there a waning appetite for critical methodology in mainstream scientific psychology?

The discipline of psychology is a stranger to neither crisis nor internal critique. Critical debates have concerned everything from its status as a science, its theoretical and philosophical foundations, to general and particular critiques of the methods and methodology which have been sanctioned and privileged within in. Yet, it appears that the key messages coming out of such critical methodological debates within psychology have not reached in an appreciable way the researchers who use methods and attempt to advance or apply theory on the basis of the findings that result from their use. This chapter gives a brief survey of the history of crisis and critique in psychology, with an emphasis on critical methodology, highlighting a number of major methodological critiques that have appeared in mainstream psychological discourse. The general question of whether psychological science truly suffers from a persistent resistance to methodological critique and, if so, to what extent is then examined. To that end, explored are the distinctions between different types of methodological critique, and both the extent to which each might be considered restitutive or radical and if and how they have had a clear impact on psychological research practice.


Citation: Slaney, K. L. (2021). Is there a waning appetite for critical methodology in mainstream scientific psychology? In J. T. Lamiell & K. L. Slaney (Eds). Problematic research practices and inertia in scientific psychology: History, sources, and recommended solutions (pp. 86-101). New York, NY: Routledge.

Published by Kathleen Slaney

I am a Professor of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, located in British Columbia, Canada. My research interests and expertise fall, broadly, in the philosophy of psychological science, analysis and critique of empirical methodologies, study of scientific practices in psychology, history/philosophy of psychological measurement, theoretical and applied psychometrics. More recently I've turned my attention to thinking and writing about to a more general set of meta-science issues, including philosophical reflexivity, generalizability, and rhetoric in science discourse. I am also just beginning a new line of research into the topic of community and civic virtue.