Chapter 1: Opportunities and Challenges for Interdisciplinary Research Next Chapter

Duane F. Alwin & Scott M. Hofer

In: Handbook of Cognitive Aging: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Chapter 1: Opportunities and Challenges for Interdisciplinary Research

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Opportunities and Challenges for Interdisciplinary Research
Opportunities and challenges for interdisciplinary research

Some years ago, Thomas Kuhn (1962) pointed out that science advances in one of two main ways. First, by focusing on the problems and puzzles defined by existing paradigms, and by training students in the somewhat rigid methods and models of our disciplines, science inevitably makes progress by filling in gaps in knowledge and refuting existing hypotheses. Kuhn referred to this as “normal science,” and it constitutes the major mechanism by which scientists produce knowledge that supports contemporary models of the phenomena of interest. Second, in addition to this mode of activity, science progresses by developing fresh approaches, by shifting the paradigms, or by repudiating the past through more dramatic scientific revolutions. Kuhn's work suggests ...

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