There is a historical trajectory in methods discourse that is worth uncovering, encompassing changes in content, in the ways in which methods discourse is incorporated in experimental reports to establish proper procedure and changes in the ways in which the experimenters utilized statements and reflections about methods to confer epistemic force on the results presented. It is this trajectory that the book captures, and the distinctions among layers of methods discourse and among descriptive and critical perspectives on methodological issues are means to this end. Methodological advancement means increasing awareness of the obstacles and limitations of experimentation: the unknown but suspected contingencies, the countless circumstances, the variations among living beings, the complexity of organic bodies, and the uncertainties related to techniques and instruments for the study of subvisible phenomena. Methodological advancement means increasing efforts to develop strategies for managing and perhaps overcoming these challenges. Methodological advancement also includes the realization that the means through which we make sense of the world might forever remain precarious.
Keywords: layers of methods discourse, history of methodology, experimentation