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Psychology, Science, and Pseudoscience: Class #18 (Qualitative Psych)
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Psychology, Science, and Pseudoscience: Class #18 (Qualitative Psych)

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In short: Our final case-study from mainstream psychology relates to the scientific implications of 'Qualitative Psychology'.

In short: Our final case-study from mainstream psychology relates to the scientific implications of 'Qualitative Psychology'.

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  • Two flaws 1. Doesn’t control for quality of journal (paradoxically?) Keyword search doesn’t select research by method, but article by content. Dissertations on the shortcomings of qualitative research will be counted as well. Time pattern in Figure doesn’t take account of the inclusion of new (many qualitative) journals over time. For example the following have appeared since 1997: Qualitative Research in Psychology (2004) Qualitative Health Research (1991) Qualitative Market Research (1997) Qualitative Research (2000) Qualitative Research in Psychology (2003) Qualitative Social Work: Research and Practice (2001) Possible irony of refuting statistical information presented in defence of qualitative research. Is it the case that quantitative information is okay when presented to defend qualitative research, but that it is dismissed as a blunt instrument when used to criticise qualitative research (or to refute defences)? Does the above not suggest that quantitative data is often more complex than qualitative researchers believe, and/or that quantitative research can get behind superficialities and to the heart of the matter just as well as (or better than) qualitative research? (Raises the point of qualitative researchers’ statistical competence)

Psychology, Science, and Pseudoscience: Class #18 (Qualitative Psych) Psychology, Science, and Pseudoscience: Class #18 (Qualitative Psych) Presentation Transcript

  • PS409 Psychology, Science, & Pseudoscience Dr Brian Hughes School of Psychologybrian.hughes@nuigalway.ie @b_m_hughes
  • Case Studies:Examples of Psychology-related Pseudoscience
  • Case Studies fromWithin Mainstream Psychology: 4. Qualitative Psychology
  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative Quantitative = “numbers”? Qualitative = “quality”?
  • Some quantitative concepts… Presence/Absence, Change Negative/Positive, Same/Different Same as last time, or new? Growth
  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative Quantitative >> addresses indexible concepts, such as: Amount i.e., you can detect when it Frequency changes, and when it stays Intensity the same. Change over time Presence (vs. absence)
  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative Quantitative >> addresses indexible concepts, such as: Amount Frequency Intensity Change over time Presence (vs. absence) Qualitative >> addresses unindexible concepts, such as: Theme Meaning Texture Experience
  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative Quantitative >> addresses indexible concepts, such as: Amount Frequency “Quanta” Intensity Externally Change over time verifiable Presence (vs. absence) Qualitative >> addresses unindexible concepts, such as: Theme Meaning “Qualia” Texture Personally Experience verifiable
  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative Examples of methodologies: In-depth interviews* Focus groups* Observation* Narrative biography* Analysis of mass media output *heavily reliant on either participant or moderator introspection
  • Morgan, M. (1998).Qualitative research: Science orpseudo-science? Psychologist,11, 481–483.[Also: replies from Cooper &Stevenson (pp. 484–485) andSherrard (pp. 486–487) and postscript by Morgan (p. 488)]
  • The Conventional Case for Qualitative Arguments of substance 1. Constructivism vs. positivism 2. Complexity vs. simplicity 3. Humanism vs. mechanisticism Arguments of rhetoric 1. Practitioners vs. scientists 2. Women vs. men 3. Popularity vs. obscurity
  • Three Substantive Arguments for Qualitativeover Quantitative1. Constructivism vs. positivism Qualitative proponents say… “Human experience is bound by context and all knowledge is fundamentally subjective and relative” Quantitative proponents respond… Such an argument is self-refuting “The Relativist’s Pitard”
  • Three Substantive Arguments for Qualitativeover Quantitative2. Complexity vs. simplicity Qualitative proponents say… “Human experience is too complex to be studied like other subject matter in science, and cannot be quantified” Quantitative proponents respond… Complexity is not a barrier to science “Quantitative” is not the same as “quantifiable”
  • Three Substantive Arguments for Qualitativeover Quantitative3. Humanism vs. mechanisticism Qualitative proponents Quantitative proponents say… respond… Quantitative methods treat “Human experience” can humans as machines be studied scientifically, if Quantitative methods term is defined in a cannot examine “human” generalizable way experience Qualitative methods can hardly study “human experience” if it holds that subjective experiences cannot be generalized
  • The Conventional Case for Qualitative Arguments of substance 1. Constructivism vs. positivism 2. Complexity vs. simplicity 3. Humanism vs. mechanisticism Arguments of rhetoric 1. Practitioners vs. scientists 2. Women vs. men 3. Popularity vs. obscurity
  • Three Rhetorical Arguments for Qualitativeover Quantitative Practitioners vs. Scientists Qualitative proponents say… Qualitative = “listening” Quantitative proponents respond… “Listening” = anecdotal evidence
  • Three Rhetorical Arguments for Qualitativeover Quantitative Practitioners vs. Scientists Qualitative proponents say… Qualitative = “listening” Quantitative proponents respond… “Listening” = anecdotal evidence Women vs. Men Qualitative proponents say… Qualitative = female Quantitative proponents respond… Refuted (and damaging) gender stereotype
  • “Peer-reviewed journals, positivist epistemology, andquantitative methods work… to reduce women’sparticipation in psychology.” (p. 96)“[In addressing discrimination against women] thenew Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section shouldalso provide an important forum…” (p. 96) The Psychologist (2006) On behalf of the British Psychological Society’s Standing Committee for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities
  • Three Rhetorical Arguments for Qualitativeover Quantitative Practitioners vs. Scientists Qualitative proponents say… Qualitative = “listening” Quantitative proponents respond… “Listening” = anecdotal evidence Women vs. Men Qualitative proponents say… Qualitative = female Quantitative proponents respond… Refuted (and damaging) gender stereotype
  • Three Rhetorical Arguments for Qualitativeover Quantitative Practitioners vs. Scientists Qualitative proponents say… Qualitative = “listening” Quantitative proponents respond… “Listening” = anecdotal evidence Women vs. Men Qualitative proponents say… Qualitative = female Quantitative proponents respond… Refuted (and damaging) gender stereotype Popularity vs. Obscurity Qualitative proponents say… Qualitative = common; integral Quantitative proponents respond… Qualitative = rare, unorthodox, non-mainstream
  • How “mainstream” is qualitative research in psychology? Top 10 (of 483) Journals in Psychology, by Impact Factor Impact Factors from ISI Web of Science; hits data from PsycINFO No. of hits for 2009 No. of “qualitative” in title, abstract, Impact articles, method, or key Journal Factor 2000-2009 concept %1 Annual Review of Psychology 22.750 255 2 0.78432 Behavioral and Brain Sciences 19.045 1,246 5 0.40133 Psychological Bulletin 12.854 497 12 2.41454 Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11.664 1,022 12 1.17425 Annual Review of Clinical Psychology 9.613 92 0 0.00006 Psychological Review 9.082 540 14 2.59267 Perspectives on Psychological Science 7.508 181 2 1.10508 Personality and Social Psychology Review 6.594 217 0 0.00009 American Psychologist 6.537 6,056 15 0.2477 Monographs of the Society for Research on Child10 Development 6.333 224 8 3.5714 TOTAL 10,330 70 0.6776
  • How “mainstream” is qualitative research in psychology?Top 10 (of 93) Journals in Clinical Psychology, by Impact Factor Impact Factors from ISI Web of Science; hits data from PsycINFO No. of hits for “qualitative” 2009 No. of in title, Impact articles, abstract, method, or Journal Factor 2000-2009 key concept % 1 Annual Review of Clinical Psychology 9.613 92 0 0.0000 2 Neuropsychology Review 5.231 200 1 0.5000 3 Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 3,494 16 0.4579 4 Psychological Medicine 5.012 2,101 15 0.7139 5 Clinical Psychology Review 4.901 567 9 1.5873 6 Journal of Abnormal Psychology 4.515 796 3 0.3769 7 Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 4.461 1,142 18 1.5762 8 Health Psychology 3.462 952 5 0.5252 9 Archives of Sexual Behavior 3.239 1,234 25 2.0259 10 Journal of Behavioral Medicine 3.084 437 1 0.2288 TOTAL 11,015 93 0.8443
  • How “mainstream” is qualitative research in psychology?Top 10 (of 50) Journals in Social Psychology, by Impact Factor Impact Factors from ISI Web of Science; hits data from PsycINFO No. of hits for 2009 No. of “qualitative” in Impact title, abstract, articles, method, or key Journal Factor 2000-2009 concept %1 Personality and Social Psychology Review 6.594 217 0 0.00002 Advances in Experimental Social Psychology* 6.083 94 0 0.0000 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 4.732 1,542 3 0.19464 Journal of Personality 2.892 504 10 1.98415 Law and Human Behavior 2.628 398 2 0.50256 European Journal of Personality 2.597 440 1 0.22737 Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2.575 1,326 19 1.4329 Organizational Behavior and Human Decision8 Processes 2.549 483 8 1.65639 Journal of Health and Social Behavior 2.350 280 6 2.142910 Child Abuse & Neglect 2.339 1,014 62 6.1144 TOTAL 6,298 111 1.7625 *Hits data for Adv Exp Soc Psychol are from ScienceDirect
  • How “mainstream” is qualitative research in psychology? Total number of 1999 articles in PsycINFO: 68,950 Kidd, S. A. (2002). Psychological Methods, 7, 126-138
  • Three Rhetorical Arguments for Qualitativeover Quantitative Practitioners vs. Scientists Qualitative proponents say… Qualitative = “listening” Quantitative proponents respond… “Listening” = anecdotal evidence Women vs. Men Qualitative proponents say… Qualitative = female Quantitative proponents respond… Refuted (and damaging) gender stereotype Popularity vs. Obscurity Qualitative proponents say… Qualitative = common; integral Quantitative proponents respond… Qualitative = rare, unorthodox, non-mainstream
  • The Conventional Case for Qualitative Arguments of substance 1. Constructivism vs. positivism 2. Complexity vs. simplicity 3. Humanism vs. mechanisticism Arguments of rhetoric 1. Practitioners vs. scientists 2. Women vs. men 3. Popularity vs. obscurity
  • Most significant challenges forqualitative research Validity Construct validity External validity Internal validity Reliability Inter-rater reliability Test-retest reliability
  • But is it pseudoscience? Unfalsifiability? Hypotheses, predictions, theories not testable Inaccuracies undetectable Vagueness in measurement? Poor construct validity Anecdotal evidence? Fundamental Confirmation bias? Valorisation of subjectivism, interpretivism Indifference towards parsimony? Hostile towards reductionism
  • PS409 Psychology, Science, & Pseudoscience Dr Brian Hughes School of Psychologybrian.hughes@nuigalway.ie @b_m_hughes