This book covers key movements that helped to shape psychology – from the early philosophical debate between rationalism and empiricism or realists and antirealists through to the emergence of psychology as a science and the ongoing debates about ‘objectivity’ and ‘truth’ and what a science of psychology should be. Often nuanced and complex, the author examines major conceptual issues in the history of psychology that continue to be debated and influence public policy and lay understanding. The latter stages of the book explore notions of individuality, hereditarianism, critical psychology, and feminist perspectives. While deeply rooted in human history, it is made clear that psychology, how it is conceived and practiced, has a bearing on our understanding of what it is to be human. Accessible, objective and above all comprehensive, this book will help students locate psychology in the wider field of science and understand the forces that continue to shape and define it.

Psychological Methods and Practice

Psychological Methods and Practice

Learning Objective

Over the past couple of decades there has been a burgeoning interest in qualitative methods as alternatives to the standard experimental paradigm. For their part, hard-nosed experimentalists reject qualitative methods as unscientific or soft science (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994). In a sense, qualitative methods are treated as though they are something new, but there have always been advocates of qualitative methods in psychology. They were simply displaced by the rise of quantitative methods. In this chapter we will examine the ‘quantitative imperative’ in psychology and the eventual call for alternative methods as scientific psychology began to reveal its limitations. In considering this, you should become familiar with the issues and be prepared to take a position ...

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