Methods Matter: Empirical Research in Philosophy of Science in Practice

1 July 2022
University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium

This workshop is designed to be interactive, with all discussions using a panel format with speakers putting forward specific viewpoints or experiences relating to the topic in no more than 5 minutes each, and then opening the floor to questions and comments. Our goals are not only to provide guidance and a space for discussion, but to assist with formulation of the right questions to ask — and the distinctive challenges and opportunities underpinning our research — as we move forward as a community interested in empirical methods for the philosophy of science in practice.

Final program

10:00–10:10: Welcome and introduction: Sabina Leonelli & Rachel Ankeny

10:1011:30: Session 1: What to pick? Choosing cases and informants

  • Julia Bursten, University of Kentucky
  • Simon Lohse, Radboud University
  • Julie Mennes, University of Ghent
  • Maria Şerban, Technische Universität Berlin

This session considers how philosophers choose which parts of research practice to investigate (e.g. which domains, methods, theoretical background, technologies, communities), which specific examples to consider (e.g. specific cases, institutions, historical episodes) and who to pick as main informants (e.g. individual researchers, technicians, administrators, students). We also consider what, if anything, makes PSP different from comparable research in other parts of science studies, such as STS, HPS and other social sciences.

11:3011:50: Coffee/tea break

11:5012:50: Session 2: How to interact? Methods and ethics

  • Rachel A. Ankeny, University of Adelaide
  • Carlos Andrés Barragán, University of California at Davis
  • Abigail Nieves Delgado, Utrecht University
  • Manuela Fernández Pinto, Universidad de los Andes
  • Hugh Williamson, University of Exeter

This session debates the conditions under which research can and should be carried out, ranging from the methods employed (ethnographic, experimental, participatory) to the ethical considerations underpinning research on research (such as the meaning of informed consent and constructive critique, particularly when part of a collaboration between PSP researchers and scientists).

12:5014:00: Lunch

14:0015:15: Session 3: What comes of interactions? Part 1: Managing and using data

  • Ariane Hanemaayer, Brandon University
  • Miles MacLeod, University of Twente
  • Stephanie Meirmans, University of Amsterdam
  • Kirsten Walsh, University of Exeter

This session considers the challenges associated to managing one key output of PSP research, which is research data. We ask what counts as data for PSP; how and where such data are stored, and with which access requirements; what constitutes an acceptable form of data use, and whether data can and should be shared across research projects; and what obligations do we have vis-à-vis our data — and to whom.

15:1515:45: Coffee/tea break

15:4517:00: Session 4: What comes of interactions? Part 2: Diversifying outputs and best practices

  • Sabina Leonelli, University of Exeter
  • Alan Love, University of Minnesota
  • James McElvenny, University of Siegen
  • Emily Sullivan, Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Sophie Veigl, University of Vienna

This session considers the variety of outputs that can be generated from PSP research, including not only research articles but also policy briefs, web-based resources, social media engagement, podcasts and so forth. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of diversifying the type of output emerging from our research, and the challenges posed by different platforms and publics in communicating the results of our work.

17:0017:10: Wrap up and conclusion of the workshop

17:15: Walk towards SPSP pre-conference get together