Just last month a long time scholar of the field authored the paper, , and once again the blogosphere was debating the issue. As such, binary, blanket “yes” or “no” answers to the question fail.The answer I offer is that yes, it is largely a science, but there are important ways that it fails to live up to this description.These are the methods that students learn about when they are introduced to “doing science”, and include elements such as systematic observation, measurement and quantification, data gathering, hypothesis testing, controlled experimentation (where possible), and theory construction.Although the scientific method is often touted as the sin qua non of science, it is not.In contrast, defenders of psychology as science have told haters to “shut up already” about psychology not being a science because, although messy, psychology clearly has the “chops” to warrant the term.Defining Psychology as a Science Let’s turn from defining science to defining psychology.The first three are fairly straightforward and the fourth is particularly relevant for this debate and debates like it (i.e., involving what does or does not get classified as a science).
It's rooted in the failure of psychologists to acknowledge that they don't have the same claim on secular truth that the hard sciences do.
Scholars of the field know this debate has continued on and off, right up through the present day.
The debate flared in the blogosphere a couple of years ago, after an op-ed piece by a microbiologist in the LA Times declared definitively that psychology was not a science, followed by several pieces in Psychology Today and Scientific American declaring definitively that psychology is, in fact, a science. The answer is that it is complicated and the reason is that both science and psychology are complex, multifaceted constructs.
It's rooted in the tired exasperation that scientists feel when non-scientists try to pretend they are scientists.
Thus for Bezerow, (real) scientists dismiss psychologists because they are rightfully defending their turf.