The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn

Kuhn, T. (1996) The structure of scientific revolutions. (3rd ed.) Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

The absolute basics of Kuhn are as follows:
  • Normal science is defined by paradigms. Students in a field are indoctrinated into the ways of thinking (paradigms) that are dominant in the field.
  • Paradigms do not explain all problems in the field, but often explain key issues that were heretofore unresolved. They also leave room for research and help define what will be researched because of the problems it highlights.
  • Scientists do research within the paradigm of their field. When a discovery is made that does not work within the paradigm tension occurs. Eventually, as this discovery is probed and understood, a theory develops. This new theory does not always catch on and cause a paradigm shift (which I find fascinating). Those who cause a paradigm shift are often very young or very new to the profession (read as they are not as indoctrinated into the existing paradigm).
  • Once a paradigm shift has occured, the field sees their work in a new way and also see their old way of thinking as incorrect, not just different. The new paradigm will not explain everything, will have room for research, and will explain some of the previously unresolved issues in the field.

Use this link to see an external page with an outline of the book that is much more complete than I have done.