Saturday, 10 November 2012

Experimenting beyond science

Joseph Wright's 'An Experiment on a Bird in the Air pump' 1768
I gave a talk to the other STS fellows here at Harvard last Tuesday on the topic of experimentation. My presentation covered emerging approaches in STS and related disciplines which use the metaphor of experimentation to study social processes, rather than the term's more common association with the scientific method. This blog post will cover some of the basic points from the review work I carried out - what are the different disciplinary approaches to such a study? why might the metaphor of experimentation be a useful one? and where are the conflicts, disagreements and problems? Over the next few weeks I'm planning to explore the potential for linking approaches to experimentation with my work on public engagement practices in the UK, so watch this space for further developments with this project.