Educational Psychology: A Future Retrospective

Karen Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In my response to Alexander's (2018) paper marking the 125th anniversary of the American Psychological Association and the field of educational psychology, I have taken the perspective of a member of our discipline from some time in the future who is contributing to a larger work looking back at the history and development of our field (thus, a "future retrospective"). As this "future author," I focus on Alexander's (2018) article and selected developments in our field and more broadly since 2018. Two of the five thematic areas of influence that had established an enduring legacy for the field identified by Alexander are the primary focus: (a) interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary inquiry and (b) evidencebased practice (EBP). The concepts of theoretical integration and theoretical integrationists are discussed in relation to these themes. Early barriers to interdisciplinary approaches, including paradigm wars and a proliferation of false dichotomies, are noted. The emergence of complexity sciences and a complex systems framework for understanding learning and development is discussed, leading to deeper understanding of the unique social and historical context that shaped and informed our work in the second decade of the 21st-century, as well as the multifaceted context we work within today. Given the interwoven nature of the five thematic areas identified by Alexander, however, aspects of the other thematic areas and Alexander's thoughts on the future of educational psychology are also encountered. I concur with Alexander in hoping that her paper and the responses to it generate discussion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Complexity science
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Learning
  • Paradigms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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