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The Characteristics and Diversity of Experimentation in the Sciences


This introduction aims at raising the central questions that will be discussed throughout the book in a variety of ways, adapted to each scientific discipline. What is experimentation, and what distinguishes it from observation in different disciplines? What epistemic status should experimentation have in relation to theory? In which institutional framework do experimental practices find their place? To answer these questions, we first detail the various functions of experimentation, abandoning the idea that it can be reduced to the sole function of validating certain theoretical statements – those that correspond to the researchers’ hypotheses. The key word here is diversity, which is evident on several levels: that of the nature of the objects studied, that of the instrumentation and that of the aims pursued in the different sciences, whether natural sciences or human and social sciences.


Allamel-Raffin, C., Gangloff, J.-L. et Gingras, Y. (2024). The Characteristics and Diversity of Experimentation in the Sciences. Dans C. Allamel-Raffin, J.-L. Gangloff et Y. Gingras (dir.), Experimentation in the Sciences: Comparative and Long-Term Historical Research on Experimental Practice (p. 1-8). Cham : Springer Nature Switzerland

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Catherine Allamel-Raffin
J.-L. Gangloff