Call for Papers: Evidential Diversity in the Social Sciences (Deadline: 15 November 2020)

Guest Editors: Yafeng Shan and Jon Williamson (University of Kent)

Please read our Author Instructions for Topical Collections to get further information about the submission, review and publishing process of Topical Collections.

Synthese prepared Author Instructions for Topical Collections with information about the submission, review and publishing process. Further information about Topical Collections can be found in our Topical Collection Submission Information.

 “Evidential Diversity in the Social Sciences


Is diverse evidence required to establish a causal claim in the social sciences? If so, what form should this diversity take? Mixed methods research advocates diversity of evidence, in the form of a mixture of qualitative and quantitative evidence. Other approaches in the social sciences attach greater weight to one or other of these kinds of evidence: for example, evidence-based policy tends to attach great weight to quantitative results of randomised controlled trials. In philosophy, evidential pluralism says that one needs to consider both evidence of correlation and evidence of mechanism when assessing a causal claim. Evidential pluralism has led to new research on the role of mechanisms in the health sciences and to suggestions for improvements to evidence-based medicine, and the question arises as to whether the lessons from medicine can be fruitfully applied to the social sciences. The topical collection will bring together these developments, and others, in an attempt to shed new light on the role of diversity of evidence in the social sciences.

The questions to be addressed include (but are not limited to):

Can evidential pluralism be applied to the social sciences analogously to the way in which it can be applied to the biomedical sciences? If so, how widely is evidential pluralism applicable to the social sciences?

Can diversity of evidence help to explain the co-existence of disparate ontological and epistemological accounts of the social sciences?

Can evidential pluralism be used to suggest improvements to evidence appraisal for evidence-based policy in the social sciences?

Is it possible to systematise the roles of diverse kinds of evidence in mixed methods research?

For further information, please contact the guest editors: and

The deadline for submissions is 15 November 2020.

Yafeng Shan and Jon Williamson

Department of Philosophy, SECL, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NF, UK