Home / Topics / Career Advancement / Encouragement / A Sense of History

A Sense of History

Posted on January 7, 2008

Studying the history of work in the field will make you a better mentor and colleague, says Kenneth H. Rubin (bio).


Do good reading, and by that I mean, know your ancients so that you sound remotely intelligent when you yourself are mentoring others or working with others. So what we tend to do in our discipline is reinvent the wheel. We take constructs, put different labels on them, create slight nuances in measurement.

Know about what it is that other people have done historically so that when you use instruments, you know where they came from, when you have ideas, you feel pretty solid that you know the history of it. One of the problems, then, is that we have a bible in the field, and it’s the Handbook of Child Psychology.

And one of our difficulties now is that those handbooks, which used to be, up until the last version, used to be real historic documents in that they went back in time to create very strong literature reviews, are now condensed to the period of time from the last version. So then my best advice to young scholars is to read the old handbooks. Read the new ones to get the contemporary knowledge; read the old ones to get the sense of history.

Viewing Preferences




Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2007 SRCD Biennial Meeting in Boston, MA.

Damon, W., & Lerner, R. M. (Eds.). (2006). Handbook of Child Psychology (Vols. 1-4). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Noshpitz, J. D., Greenspan, S., Wieder, S., & Osofsky, J. (Eds.). (1997). Handbook of Child Psychology (Vols. 1-4). New York: Wiley.


Please note that the feedback is viewed only by 4researchers staff and is not intended for communication with individual contributors.


Use the form below to submit feedback about this article. If you would like a response, please be sure to include your e-mail address.

More About "Encouragement"


A Critical Mass


Advantages of a Broad Education

Show All...


More From Kenneth H. Rubin (bio)


Collaborative Constructs


Don't Gauge Yourself Against the Elite

Show All...