Behavioral Systems Methodology: Investigating Continuity and Organization in Developmental Interactions
Roger D. Ray Rollins College
Dennis J. Delprato Eastern Michigan University
The first part of this chapter briefly overviews major changes in how scientists have approached their subject matter over the years. We make a case that modern science has evolved to an integrated field (or system) perspective and that this perspective calls for unique methodological guidelines. The next part of the chapter addresses major orienting assumptions following from the integrated-field and system perspective that guide behavioral systems methodology, an attempt to meet the unique methodological guidelines of the new perspective. Next we cover the major components of behavioral systems methodology. The final section overviews aspects of a few descriptive analyses that behavioral systems methodology yields.
Several authoritative historical analyses ( Dewey & Bentley, 1949; Einstein & Infeld, 1938; Handy & Harwood, 1973; Kantor, 1946, 1969) agree on three general stages in the evolution of scientific thinking. Thinkers first assumed that natural events act under self-contained powers as a result of the inherent action of hypothetical substances. As noted by Dewey and Bentley