Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Behind the Times

The more I read the more concerned I become about how we are lagging behind in clinical psychology in Australia when it comes to qualitative research in psychology..been reading this INTRODUCTION TO QUALITATIVE METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY Dennis Howitt Loughborough University where he provides a history of qual in psychology, marking the 1980's as when qual became more accepted..

That is certainly not the case with clinical psychology here where we lag way behind...even in 1940 it was understood that science can include qualitative..

If we rejoice, for example, that present-day psychology is . . . increasingly
empirical, mechanistic, quantitative, nomothetic, analytic, and operational,
we should also beware of demanding slavish subservience to these presuppositions. Why not allow psychology as a science – for science is a broad and beneļ¬cent term – to be also rational, teleological, qualitative, idiographic, synoptic, and even  non-operational? I mention these antitheses of virtue with deliberation, for the simple reason that great insights of psychology 
in the past – for example, those of Aristotle, Locke, Fechner, James, Freud– have stemmed from one or more of these unfashionable presuppositions. (Allport, 1940, p. 25)

Thank god for Health Psychology and Critical Psychology who still wave the flag...


  1. I wouldn't fret so much... qual really isn't on an even footing in the UK at all, the work of those at Loughborough and other institutions notwithstanding! I'm involved in teaching lecturers to teach qual research, and we still hear about loads of departments where qual = one voice in the wilderness.

    The BPS insist that qual is taught, but their syllabus is so generic that you could get away with doing a session on observation methods and still have that box ticked (and I suspect some places do just that).

    It is getting better - but to say that it was becoming "more accepted" in the 80s begs the question "more accepted than what? mass murder?"!

  2. You've written an interesting post.... Undergrads here in Toronto don't get much exposure either, only some graduate students want to go this route. You may like the slideshare presentations I have prepared (two on phenomenological approaches)... here: http://www.slideshare.net/PelvicHlthPsych/

  3. Thanks for sharing! In psychology, qualitative research has come to be defined as research whose findings are not arrived at by statistical or other quantitative procedures.