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Studies of Expertise and Experience (SEE)

Studies of Expertise and Experience (SEE) is a research programme that was first proposed in 2002 in a paper published by Harry Collins and Rob Evans in the journal Social Studies of Science. That paper – also known as the ‘Third Wave’ paper – is now one of the most cited papers in the journal and makes three key claims

  1. There is scope within science and technology studies for complementing the well established tradition of analysing the scientific practices from a symmetrical perspective with a more normative approach that applies the detailed descriptions of scientific practice accumulated over 30 years of empirical research in a more proactive way
  2. Recognising the importance of tacit knowledge in the acquisition of expertise makes it possible to distinguish between different types and levels of expertise based on the kinds of tacit knowledge different experts (and non-experts) are able to acquire through their social interactions.
  3. The technical and political phases of technological decision-making in the public domain have different logics (or formative aspirations) and that recognising this difference is crucial to the critique of decision-making and expert advice in practice.

The programme of research that follows from this paper is wide-ranging and interdisciplinary. It has given rise to the Imitation Game method and Masquerade app but also informs a growing international network of scholars interested in how expertise is created, shared and used. This group now meets annually at the SEESHOP workshop, the most recent of which was held in Tempe, Arizona.


More details about SEE, including a statement of its core tenets and an archive of material from SEESHOPS 1 to 7, can be found on the ALL @ SEE website.