DOI link for Behavioral Science
Behavioral Science book
This chapter begins with a discussion of the goals of science: description, understanding, prediction, and control. The criteria for determining whether a relationship is causal are identified. The chapter then describes the basic values of science: empiricism, or the use of objective evidence; skepticism, or taking a critically evaluative viewpoint on evidence; keeping conclusions tentative so they can be changed on the basis of new evidence; and making the processes and results of science public. Two scientific approaches to knowledge, logical positivism and humanistic epistemology, are compared and contrasted. The central role of theory in achieving the goals of science is reviewed, including the role assumptions play in theory testing, the importance of carefully defining the hypothetical constructs that are relevant to the theory, and the need to create clear operational definitions of those constructs. Theory specification and scope are discussed, and the role theory plays in organizing and extending knowledge is explained. The chapter concludes with an overview of the research process and a discussion of the interdependence of theory, research, and application.