Qualitative Psychology: Introducing Radical Research

Qualitative Psychology: Introducing Radical Research

Qualitative Psychology: Introducing Radical Research

Qualitative Psychology: Introducing Radical Research

Synopsis

"An introduction to the varieties of qualitative research in psychology is long overdue, and Parker's book should with its broad scope, accessible style, and controversial viewpoints on trends of the current qualitative wave, have a wide audience." Steinar Kvale, Aarhus University, Denmark "This is a wonderful, insightful and necessary book... It takes students through this complex terrain in a clear, readable and yet challenging way." Bronwyn Davies, University of Western Sydney, Australia "This book makes important contributions to theoretical, political and methodological debates on qualitative and action oriented research." Bernardo Jiménez-Doménguez, Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico "For me personally, the book worked very well, I very much appreciated the fact that the book went beyond a presentation of 'the state of the art', and that it offered new ideas and suggestions about how to take qualitative research further." Qualitative Research in PsychologyThis book is designed as a practical guide for students that is also grounded in the latest developments in theory in psychology. Readers are introduced to theoretical approaches to ethnography, interviewing, narrative, discourse and psychoanalysis, with each chapter on these approaches including worked examples clearly structured around methodological stages. A case is made for new practical procedures that encourage students to question the limits of mainstream psychological research methods. Resource links guide students to theoretical debates and to ways of making these debates relevant to a psychology genuinely concerned with critical reflection and social change. The book includes numerous boxes that clearly outline: Key issues in the development, application and assessment of qualitative research methods Current debates and problems with particular qualitative methods taught in psychology Summaries of methodological stages and points to be aware of in the marking of practical reports in relation to specific methods Coverage of ethical issues, reflexivity and good report writing Qualitative Psychology is essential reading for students of psychology and other related social sciences who want a polemical account that will also serve as a well-balanced and rigorous introduction to current debates in qualitative psychology.

Excerpt

The first three chapters of this book–on theoretical assumptions, ethics and reflexivity–outline key conceptual issues that need to be thought through with respect to any method in psychology, whether qualitative or quantitative. The discussion in these three chapters emphasizes the role of theory in qualitative research, and you will find an outline of theoretical resources that I draw upon throughout the rest of the book in the first chapter on 'groundwork'. The chapters on ethics and reflexivity depart from the usual appeals to morality and authenticity in qualitative psychology, and you will find an argument for a quite different, theoretically grounded, approach to these questions.

The middle five chapters–on ethnography, interviewing, narrative, discourse and psychoanalysis–outline specific methodological approaches and contain examples of research to illustrate how the methods work in practice. The overall tone of these chapters is positive about the possibilities that different methods in qualitative psychology open up, and you will find descriptions of theoretical resources and suggestions about how the research may be undertaken. The first little boxes in these five chapters contain the negative comments I need to make about some of the problems with certain qualitative methods that are currently popular in psychology.

The final three chapters show how the methods I have described connect with action research (as something to be taken further) and with criteria and reporting of research (as obstacles and annoyances that we have to learn to find our way through). There are many 'stages' and 'points' itemized in the boxes that break up the argument in each chapter, and I must admit that there were times when I felt my brain sicken and stomach clench at the rather bureaucratic and formulaic structure of the text. Perhaps I have even reproduced the form of mainstream psychology and also, along the way, the mechanistic way the discipline likes to imagine the nature of human thinking. However, even though this book is not the most creative and imaginative alternative to psychology, it does set out steps towards creative and imaginative qualitative research, steps you can then kick away when you go on to do something better.

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