Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific Practice
H M Collins is co-author of the widely acclaimed "Frames of Meaning "and Director of the Science Studies Centre at Bath University. He continues his work in the sociology of science with this book, a fascinating study of both the maintenance and alteration of order within science. Three original studies of scientific work -- the building of TEA-lasers, the detection of gravitational radiation, and experiments in the paranormal -- form the core of the book. They brilliantly demonstrate the interlinked problems of replication and induction in the actual day-to-day practice of science.
As one of the foremost proponents of the 'relativist' view of science, Collins convincingly illustrates how the individual scientist is tied to a whole variety of institutions and networks in the wider society and how these constrain research choices and influence laboratory outcome. Changing Order is a masterful, often witty, account of how one set of facts rather than another emerges from sometimes bitter controversy; and it shows how replicable results are induced in the untidy but normally private world of scientific practice.