1) They often end up focusing on works that are really obscure, and which few people in the field are likely to have engaged with.
2) These questions can easily lend themselves to "list-style" tossups of a bunch of people who wrote studies, or the studies themselves. This issue is much less important, in my estimation, than 1) because it's inevitable in quizbowl at some point, but having a zillion questions that are lists of names of "people who studied X thing" is Bad and Boring.
I'm going to spend the rest of this post focusing on 1), since 2) is fairly self-explanatory. Here are some examples:
(EDIT: I retroactively concede that these examples are poorly chosen - but the analysis may bear looking at anyways)
So, as someone who's far from a psychology expert, this question seems to me good in many ways because information on how some theories of motivation were created with their authors, and gives the player some useful learning context. However, when you actually look up some of these people, you find that many of them aren't the best-known folks in the field - for example, the fourth line of this question mentions Angela Duckworth, a Penn professor best known for popular science work on motivation. She seems to be best known for a TED talk on "The Power of Perseverance" (which admittedly has 10 million views), a book released in 2016 on "grit", and a 2011 paper with 180 citations - not insubstantial, but we should keep in mind that this is the fourth line of a regular-difficulty question, not ACF Nationals or CO. Overloading on obscure clues like these, just because they are "real", contributes just as much to the social science distribution being very intimidating to new players as a focus on dead theorists that nobody learns about in classes.Penn Bowl 2015, Packet 1 wrote:15. A transcendent form of this phenomenon is directed towards other human beings in an anthropological theory of it by Juan Perez Lopez. It’s not color vision, but Solomon has developed a theory of it in which it arises by pairs of opposing emotions, called opponent-processes. A personality characterized by an unwavering amount of this is measured in a 12-point scale developed by Duckworth. This thing and hygiene factors are two components of job satisfaction in one theory. It’s not learning, but Spence and Hull suggested that it arises in an attempt to reduce (*) drives. Clayton Alderfer’s E-R-G theory and Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory are reworkings of another model which claims that this quality is caused by the human desire to fulfill a hierarchy of needs. People with “grit” tend to maintain it in the face of adversity. For 10 points, name this term for an impetus for behavior.
ANSWER: motivation [or drive until mention; or “grit” until mention; accept addiction due to that one clue]
Aside from the fact that this bonus is just freaking brutal (Paulo Freire as a middle part without titles? I guess you're supposed to infer that it's a Brazilian from part 1, but that's not stated explicitly; seems like you're gonna mainly get this from learning "banking model" in old questions) - the hard part of this bonus has only 14 citations, despite being over 25 years old! It seems to have a decent number of reviews on Goodreads, but it seems to be a pretty dense ethnography that's over 600 pages long. It's good that we are finding things in medical anthropology to ask about besides Mountains Beyond Mountains and The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down (though those are both fantastic) but this strikes me as just as bad of an example of an "arms race" in "real" social science as questions on obscure Aztec deities, Norse mythological objects with a single mention, etc.ACF Nationals 2017, Michigan packet wrote:10. This book argues that mothers in the Alto de Cruzeiro identify which of their children have a gosto , “taste,” or jeito
(JAY-toe), “knack,” for life. For 10 points each:
 Name this Nancy Scheper-Hughes ethnography of impoverished mothers in northeast Brazil who allocate their
love and food to children based on their ability to thrive.
ANSWER: Death Without Weeping
 Death Without Weeping cites this critic’s idea of the “culture of silence.” This Marxist’s major work rejects the
“banking model” for one in which the pupil is a co-creator of knowledge.
ANSWER: Paulo Freire (FRAIR-ee, though "FRAIR" is also acceptable) [or Paulo Reglus Neves Freire ]
 Death Without Weeping contrasts Freire’s ideas with those of this theorist of colonialism, who advocated violent
liberation of oppressed peoples in The Wretched of the Earth .
ANSWER: Frantz Fanon [or Frantz Omar Fanon ]
Tl;dr - if you want to write a "real" social science question, either use an intro textbook or (probably more efficient) do some quick googling to make sure that the stuff you're asking about is something people are likely to encounter, keeping the difficulty level in mind and everything. As with everything in quizbowl, having a diversity of approaches and question types is good, and having too many of these "real" questions that just list influential authors isn't great. And finally, as Ike Jose suggested in his 2016 quizbowl podcast, check how many citations something has before you decide to write about it, especially if you're using it as a middle clue!