Some participants in the conversation about changing scientific norms have recommended that researchers articulate detailed, formalized theories from the outset. Also, leading psychology journals have historically prioritized research that conveys at least the appearance of a satisfying theoretical conclusion. We argue that simply demonstrating social phenomena is a vital component of the theory-generation process itself, and that it is counterproductive to require authors to derive all predictions from established theoretical frameworks. Our point goes beyond calling for descriptive and exploratory research: much can be learned by carrying out carefully formulated confirmatory tests of a phenomenon before claiming to know its relationship with past or future theories. The heart of science is the practice of subjecting ideas to systematic, transparent tests, regardless of whether those ideas stem from broad, thoroughly articulated theories or provisional reasoning about phenomena. Publication standards that require definitive theoretical or practical conclusions incentivize hasty ones. We need researchers playing the long game, so we need outlets for research that has not fully established what is going on and why. This special issue aimed to provide such an outlet.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology