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Varieties of Exploratory Experimentation in Nanotoxicology

Elliott, Kevin (2008) Varieties of Exploratory Experimentation in Nanotoxicology. [Preprint]


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There has been relatively little effort to provide a systematic overview of different forms of exploratory experimentation (EE). The present paper examines the growing subdiscipline of nanotoxicology and suggests that it illustrates at least four ways that researchers can engage in EE: searching for regularities; developing new techniques, simulation models, and instrumentation; collecting and analyzing large swaths of data using new experimental strategies (e.g., computer-based simulation and “high-throughput” instrumentation); and structuring an entire disciplinary field around exploratory research agendas. In order to distinguish these and other activities more effectively, the paper proposes a taxonomy that includes three dimensions along which types of EE vary: (1) the aim of the experimental activity, (2) the role of theory in the activity, and (3) the methods or strategies employed for varying experimental parameters.

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Item Type: Preprint
Elliott, Kevin
Additional Information: This is one of a group of three papers (plus an introduction by C. Kenneth Waters) on exploratory experimentation in recent molecular life sciences. The other papers are by Richard Burian and Maureen O'Malley; preprints of the articles are available on the PhilSci Archive:
Keywords: nanotechnology, nanotoxicology, experiment, exploration, exploratory experimentation
Subjects: General Issues > Theory/Observation
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Depositing User: Kevin Elliott
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2008
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:16
Item ID: 3988

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