Dissertation Information for William Joseph White
- William Joseph White
- Library and Information Science
- Rutgers University (USA) (2001)
- Ronald Rice
MPACT Status: Complete - Except Indecipherables
Title: The communication of conceptual innovation in science: The case of chaos theory in psychology
Abstract: This dissertation develops and empirically evaluates a communication-centered model of science that emphasizes the communicatively rational formulation and evaluation of innovation claims along multiple dimensions of validity as a fundamental component of scientific activity. The primary theoretical claim emerging from the development of this model is the association of a different type of discursive relation with different configurations of disciplinary integration (or cohesion) and ideational integration (or agreement) within heterogeneous networks of actors and ideas.
The empirical evaluation of this claim occurs via the use of bibliometric and content analytic methods. A group of 120 articles published in psychology journals between 1994 and 1999 and indexed under the terms "chaos theory" or "nonlinear dynamics" in the Web of Science , the online version of the Institute for Scientific Information's natural science, social science, and humanities citation indices, forms the dataset for this investigation. Analysis proceeds via the identification of groups of articles that are affiliated with the same blocks of structurally equivalent keywords and citations (obtained from Web of Science ). These groups of articles are presumed to share the same discursive relation with other groups, and so are said to occupy the same discursive position .
Analysis continues with the semantic network analysis of the article differences among the discursive position groups in terms of their semantic character. The structural properties of each discursive position in terms of semantic and bibliographic coupling are also considered.
The results indicate some support for the theoretical claims generated by this dissertation. Some interesting qualifications to and modifications of the theory are suggested by the evidence as well. A discussion of the theoretical implications of the research touches upon the issues of disciplinarity and reflexivity.