8:30am–5:30pm, Wednesday June 16, 2016
Enterprise Center, Rowan University, Glassboro (NJ), USA

Organizer and contact:

Sophie van Baalen This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Workshop description

In this interactive workshop with several hands-on sessions, researchers skilled in specific methods presented and answered questions about when and why using certain empirical approaches might be useful and fruitful, and about the consequences of applying specific methodologies. In addition, there was space to present and discuss the audience's own research, as well as a panel discussion on the role of empirical methods in philosophy of science.

The pre-conference workshop is aimed at early-career scholars, but everybody was welcome to attend.

Workshop highlights

  • Understanding the dynamics between different empirical methodologies and the purposes for which they are used
  • Debating the implications of different empirical methodologies
  • Preseningt and discussing your own (empirical) research projects
  • Discussing the role of empirical methods in philosophy of science in practice


Qualitative and quantitative research methods from the social sciences have recently become more popular among philosophers of science who aim to understand the dynamics of the scientific practice, as well as its social and political implications. Yet junior scholars without training in empirical methods often find it challenging to conduct such studies, and there have been too few workshops or courses addressing the challenges they face. Our workshop is specifically targeted to an audience of young researchers who are interested in extending or improving the use of empirical methods in philosophy of science. The workshop fosters an interdisciplinary discussion on the uses of empirical methodologies for philosophy of science and science education.

For this purpose we have invited experienced researchers to present a range of approaches, so that participants get a feel for what the differences between different methodologies are (e.g. ethnographic studies, interviews, quantitative and qualitative analysis of research papers, phenomenological interviewing and text analysis, etc.), what different empirical methods are good for, and how to use them. In addition, there will be space for participants to present and discuss their own research, as well as a panel discussion on the role of empirical methods in philosophy. We aim at an interactive workshop that will engage many of the members of the Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice (SPSP) community, but will also reach out to other interested parties.

The workshop will take place on the 16th of June 2016, a day before the start of the SPSP2016 conference at the same location.


 8:45 – 9:30 Breakfast & Registration

 9:30 – 11:30 Lisa Osbeck (University of West Georgia) & Frederick J. Wertz (Fordham): Qualitative Methods in Science Studies

11:30 – 12:00 Coffee break

12:00 – 13:00 Dominic Berry (University of Edinburgh): Scientific practice in archives and objects

13:00 – 15:00 Lunch break, including 45min of short poster presentations and 45min of parallel discussions

15:00 – 16:00 Liam Kofi Bright (Carnegie Mellon University): Reviewing interdisciplinary research

16:10 – 17:10 Joshua Alexander (Sienna College): Experimental Philosophy meets Philosophy of Science

17:10 – 17:30 Coffee break

17:30 – 18:30 Panel discussion: Miriam Solomon (Temple University), John Dupré (University of Exeter), Sabina Leonelli (University of Exeter), and Julia Bursten (San Fransisco State University). Target questions were

  • “How to make conceptual claims based on empirical evidence?”
  • “Why does philosophy of science in practice require empirical studies?”
  • “Do empirical studies in PSP need formal methodology?”

18:30 – …. Informal gathering

Keynote and poster abstracts

Reading list

The following readings were suggested by the keynote speakers to get you up-to-date & in the mood for the workshop. All seven .pdf's can be downloaded here as a .zip archive.

Lisa Osbeck & Fred Wertz

  1. Lisa M. Osbeck & Nancy J. Nersessian (2015). Prolegomena to an Empirical Philosophy of Science. In: S. Wagenknecht et al. (eds.) Empirical Philosophy of Science. Springer pp. 13-35.
  2. Lisa M. Osbeck & Nancy J. Nersessian (2011). Affective problem solving: Emotion in Research Practice.Mind and Society, 10 (1):57-78.
  3. Frederick J. Wertz (2015). Phenomenology: Methods, Historical Development, and Applications in Psychology. In Jack Martin et al. (eds.) The Wiley Handbook of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology: Methods, Approaches, and New Directions for Social Sciences. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
  4. Kimber Bogard & Frederick J. Wertz (2006). The Introduction of a Qualitative Perspective in Advanced Psychological Research Training: Narrative of a Mixed Methods Doctoral Dissertation. The Humanistic Psychologist34 (4): 369-398.

Lisa & Fred said:

It is more important that you read the two papers with data (first and last on the list). We plan to use some of the data in those papers for practice in the workshop, and so it will help to read through those in order to understand the larger context of the data selected for analysis and discussion.

Dominic Berry

  1. James Griesemer (2004).  Three-Dimensional Models in Philosophical Perspective. In: S. Chadarevian & N. Hopwood (eds.) Models: The third dimension of Science. Stanford University Press.
  2. Mary S. Morgan & Marcel Boumans (2004). Secrets hidden by two-dimensionality: The economy as a hydraulic machine. In: S. Chadarevian & N. Hopwood (eds.) Models: The third dimension of Science. Stanford University Press.
  3. T. G. Ashplant & Adrian Wilson (1988). Present-Centred History and the problem of historical knowledge. The Historical Journal, 31(2): 253-274.

Dominic wrote:

Objects are central to a great deal of work and research themes across HPS. For a nice and steadily accumulating set of examples, take the HPS in 20 objects lecture series currently being pursued at Leeds, which integrates philosophy with object-centred research. Videos of each talk appear online, and the overall project gives you a nice glimpse at the variety of ways objects can open up your research:  Museum of History of Science, Technology, and Medicine.