The logical positivists emphasized a clear distinction between of the context of discovery and the context of justification. Their proponent, Hans Reichenbach, argued that the situation in which science is discovered or developed does not matter in terms of scientific value. The context of justification has long been the main focus, however, soon economic methodology paid more attention to the discovery context of research . The developing methodology converted from a pure philosophical thinking into a modern-based science. Some philosophers started to recognize the impact of political, social, economic and individual interest on the value of research. Moreover, even the physical surroundings were considered to matter. One of the key-drivers of this trend was the development of new views on the status and nature of science and knowledge. According to those, the background of the discovery determines what gets socially and economically accepted, what is more convincing, or what gets published and to which extent. For example, the popularity and reliability of the academic journals may indirectly impact how the findings are evaluated or spread among the audience. Thus, to separate science from pseudo-science a new approach was needed.
One of the main reasonings, which considered the context of discovery to be of crucial importance was the rhetoric approach. It originates from the ancient Greeks, who stressed the importance of how something is communicated or presented. Following the same logic, rhetoric science focuses on the environment in which economists operate while conducting science. Accordingly, the relations between scientists, how their findings are published and the extent to which their acknowledged also contributes to the creation of scientific value. Therefore, a psychological aspect has been introduced which is known as the concept of persuasion. Deirdre McCloskey in her famous critique, objected to the positivists thinking and argued that economics is influenced by the form of language, the extent of familiarity, beliefs which economists share. According to her, the way economists persuade each other, by means of proofs or tests, reduces the field of consideration. The concepts of analogy and metaphor was introduced to depict the ways of persuasion used in science. Moreover, economists engage in the process of storytelling, by indirectly influencing the participants’ decisions, intuition. As opposed to the positivist, who believed that science is not a structure based on obvious facts, the rhetoric approach assumed it to be a dynamic set of statements, subject to interpretation. Therefore, the way we perceive meaningful research changes over time.
Applying the aforementioned reasoning, the value and amount of research is also influenced by non-research related factors. The division of the faculty into a few departments, creates a reason for discrepancies in terms of funding, quality and possibilities. The university clearly prioritizes some studies over other as a result of their past successes. Furthermore, the fact that there is a strong hierarchy within scientists, influences how the audience evaluates the reliability of new studies.
The above might prove the importance of the context of discovery. The structure of the university might promote only a few fields of studies by completely neglecting other, which could potentially contribute to the scientific value. Moreover, some research may not be recognized by others because of the inferiority in terms of stature.