Patterns of knowledge communities in the social sciences

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of science and scientific communities is dominated by philosophies and sociologists. These disciplines naturally take different approaches to the subject, the one epistemological and the other sociological. While recognizing the role of society in shaping science, this article emphasizes the way that the epistemology of science influences scientific society. The epistemological status of various scientific discourses also shapes scientific communities. Discourses about methods have different effects on communities than discourses about theories; positivist discourses and nonpositivist discourses also shape communities differently. The best way to think about science and scientific communities is a dialogue between two hybrid approaches - i.e., a social epistemology and an epistemological sociology. Each presents some challenges to information science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-225
Number of pages22
JournalLibrary Trends
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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