THE MAJOR OBJECTIONS TO THE TRADITIONAL PARADIGM ce is the positivist one, which embraces the traditional scientific (hypothetico- Some of these have already been touched on in covering the more qualitative aspea, model. But there is not just one new paradigm. The term crops up in of inteewing and observing, as well as in the case-study section. However, let’s put The term is used by several people and groups with varying together the general case ‘against’. backgrounds, and aims but with most of the objections above in common. also would agree with most, if not all of the following points: 1 Traditional research treats people as isolatable &om their social contexts. t even treats pa* of people (e.g. their memory or attitude) as separable. ‘Subjects’ are to psychoogical research should concentrate on the meanings of actions in a social be treated as identical units for purposes of demonstrating the researcher’s not on isolated, ‘objective’ units of behaviour - holism, not atomism. preconceived notions about humans which they cannot challenge. They are The emphasis should also be upon interaction. Attribution, for instance, is not manipulated in and out of the research condition. the work of one person, but the result of negotiation between observer and 2 Whereas we all realise that to know and understand even one’s good friends one served, the latter attempting to control or contradict attributions. has to stay close, the researcher, in the interests of objectiviry, strains to remain M
~s and interactions belong to social situations and contexts and can’t be distant. The researcher’s attitudes and motives are not recognised, revealed or isolated from these. seen as relevant to the research process. ch is therefore mostly naturalistic and qualitative. This bjectivi is seen as mythical. The attempt to stay coolly distant, and the search is conducted as closely as possible with the person(s) studied. A quote quantitative paradigm, blind the researcher to hisher om iduence and active from Hall (1975) makes this point: role in the research Process which is a social context. When students administer structured questionnaires to peers, for instance, the respondents usually want to Social science research often appears to produce a situation in which a know what the student thinks and whether they believe all those statements Which medical doctor mes to diagnose a patient’s symptoms from around the the respondent had to check. corner and out of sight. The social scientist uses his ‘instruments’ to measure the response ofthe patient as though they were a kind of long 4 The eTm+nental situation or survey interview can only pennit the gathering of ste&oscope. The focus of the researcher has been on developing a superficial information. In the study of person perception and interpersonal better and better stethoscope for going around Comers and into houses attraction, for instance, maidy first impressions have been researched with traditional methods. when the real need is for the researcher to walk around the comer, into the house and begin talking with the people who live there. 5 Experimental procedures restrict the normal powers of ‘subjects’ to plan, react and express appropriate social behaviour in the context of the research topic. Yet 6 participants’ 0% terms and interpretations are the most central data. To quote the investigator uses the results to make statements about human nature on the ‘De Waele and Harrk (1979): same topic. The resulting model of the person is simplistic and mechanistic. BY taking participants’ interpretations seriously we gained the falsifica- 6 Deception can only falsify the research context and give quite misleading results, tion of reality which occurs when self-reports are confined to the replies besides treating the participant with contempt. to questionnaires etc., which have been devised in. advance by the 7 The relationship between experimenter and ‘subject’ is like that of employer- investigator . . . Participants, if allowed to construct their own inter- employee. It is dominating and elitist. Hence, behaviour exhibited will mirror this pretations, often present a range of meanings and reveal implicit particular social context. This will also contribute to the resulting model ?f the theories sometimes widely at variance with those imposed by the person. investigators. 8 Highly structured research methods predetermine the nature ofresulting I This approach is exemplified in Marsh’s (1978) work on the accounts given by infomation. Theoretical frameworks are imposed on the par-cipants. football fans of the ‘rules’ of football terrace behaviour. Marsh used an approach Questionnaires, for example, singularly fail to extract the most important developed from Harrk’s ‘ethogenic’ perspective, the ersective outlined above. information from people. Information obtained is narrow, rarefied and unrealistic. 7 Some version of INDUCTIVE ANALYSIS is prefemed to the hypothetico-deductive approach. In the former, theories, models and hypotheses emerge from the data- structured coding and categorising systems lose sight of the wholeness of gathering process rather than being confirmed by it. (Ironically, this is close to the individual. . . the philosophy of the early empirical method, where one was supposed to gather data from the natural, physical world with no preconceptions.) SO WHAT DO NEW PARADIGMS PROPOSE? Thomas Kuhn (1 962) made the term ‘paradigm’ popular when he discussed ways in which science goes through radical changes in its overall conception of appropriate - models and methodology. A ‘paradigm shift.’ occurred when Einsteinian physics Medawar (1963), however, has argued forcefully against the naYve assumption that oae can approach any phenomenon, in order to study it, with ~ absolutely no preconceptions as to its modes of functioning - certainly not in the social world anyway. replaced Newtonian. Inductive analysis also involves the process of constantly refining emergent The paradigm which ‘new paradigm’ psychological researchers are seeking to categories and models in the light of incoming data. – The value of this approach is particularly seen in its ability to permit r lpTIVE RESEARCH categories, processes, even hypotheses to emerge which might not have been envisaged as present before research began, whereas traditional research strictly of people participating in research and collaborating with the researcher in defmes variables and dimensions before data collection, such that data may be the project is not new. Here is a quote &om Madge (1953): distorted to fit the prearranged scheme. techniques of experimentation which have so far been discussed are Emergent theories are likely to be local, rather than massive generalisations , based on those evolved in the natural sciences. Can it be that a radically about the nature of human thought or personality. different approach is required in social science? Can the human beings For the more radical departures from the traditional paradigm there is a high constitute the subject-matter of social science be regarded, not as degree of participation by those researched in some or all of the development, cts for experimental manipulation, but as participants in what is being running and analysis of the research project. The extreme version of this , . planned? If this can be so, it requires a transformed attitude towards social approach involves the target group acting as collaborative researchers with the experiment. Traditionally, attention is concentrated on the rec cautions original researcher as a form of consultant and data organiserlanalyst. Any needed to objectify results, and this entails treating the participants as lay findings or interpretations are discussed and modified by the group as a whole in figures to be observed before and after subjection to a series of external its own terms. Reality is ‘negotiated’. . sdmuli. In contrast, the new approach entails the acceptance and encour- ent of conscious co-operation by all concerned. There are then no At the very least, though, most methods under the ’new paradigm/qualitativey longer an investigator and his passive subjects, but a number of human umbrella involve the notion of a ‘research cycle’, gone round several Dines, in - beings, one of whom is more experienced than the others and has which an integral step is to consult with participants as to the acceptability and somewhat more complex aims, but all of whom are knowingly collaborat- accuracy of emergent theories, models and categories. ing in a research project. QUALITATIVE APPROACHES What has increased in the 1980s and 1990s is the actual practice of such research and - - - . . the redognition of people as active enquirers in the research process, so much so that I had originally intended to head this chapter ‘qualitative approaches’ and take YOU 1 even the establishment body for academic psychology, the British Psychological through a distinct set of methods. As it turned out, it made more sense to deal with i . Society has recommended that the term ‘subjects’ be dropped in favour of ‘partici- the quantitative-qualitative dimension as we went througfl observation, interview - . pants’. The message has so far had little effect - as mentioned in Chapter 1, there was and the like. The methods we have encountered SO far which could count as i ', jvn one use of the term in over 30 oppo-ties in the British Journal of qualitative include: -. Pcholom from 1992 to mid-1993. However, these are early days for this change. Open-ended questionnaires -. -. - -This is not to say that there weren’t always some researchers using participative Unstructured interviews techniques with a philosophy, not just an analysis of data, which was broadly Semi-structured observation qualitative. Here are some research influences or strands of the general qualitative or - Participant observation ‘new paradigm’ perspective. The diary method The clinical method (to some extent) ACTION RESEARCH Role-play and simulation (depending on particular research) Individual case-studies Although these methods gather qualitative data, they are not all what one might call ‘qualitative’ in outlook, by which is meant that the research aim is to use the data in their qualitative form and not extract from them just that which can somehow be represented numerically. The data are retained in the form of meanings. In Chapter 25 we look at ways in which qualitative data can be dealt with. To the extent that data are strictly categorised, coded or content analysed, the approach tends to be positivistic rather than qualitative in outlook. But it would be tempting to assume that all approaches which are qualitative in outlook would automatically fall into this category of new paradigm. However, the subterfuge and secrecy of much participant observation runs counter to several of the principles outlined above. The people studied are often not participants in the research, only the researcher is. The presentation of results can tend to deliver the message ’what fascinatingly strange people, and they’re organised too.‘ “ , ’ First proposed by Kurt Lewin in the mid 1940s, this approach basically called for . research to be applied to practical issues occurring in the everyday social world. The idea was to enter a social situation, attempt change and monitor results. This might be setting up or contributing to a programme designed to raise awareness on dietary needs or the dangers of smoking. The approach has been used extensively in the area of occupational psychology concerned with organisational change. Associated examples come from the work of the Tavistock Institute and their concentration on ‘socio-technical systems’. The emphasis here is on facilitation of a work-group in developing human systems which counteract the otherwise dehumanising influence of machinery and technology. A guiding principle is that the researcher involves representatives of, if not all, the work-group in the process of change. There are examples as far back as Trist and Barnforth (1951) who reorganised workers in the Durham coalfields and Rice (1958) who did the same in Ahmedabad, India. Obviously, here is an area where the research aim and area lend themselves to a qualitative and participative approach. 176 %SEARCH METODS AND STATISTICS IN PSYCHOLOGY NEW PARADIGMS 177 ENDOGENOUS RESEARCH of which new researchers are aware. In advocating the ve approach he argues that the new paradigm is a ‘paradigm of choice’ This is an import from anthropology, the originators of participant observation on a the traditional hypothetico-deductive and the alternative holistic, inductive big scale. In this approach, rather than living with a community for a year or so, coming away, then publishing a report, the researcher involves members of the that quantification is only one example of a more general in a mearch project on their own customs, norms and organisation their own terns. rred. Quantitative and qualitative procedures are just different forms of the actice of ‘re-representation’ in science. In other words, whether I measure COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH or re-describe it, what results is my surnmarised version of Roughly speaking, putting the last two approaches together, we get the basis collaborative research, in which participants are involved as fully as possible research on their own group organisation. The researcher may have to lead at [NET PERSPECTIVE beginning but as participants realise the nature of the game they become m er and more recent new force within psychological research methods has been centrally involved in the progress of research. In some cases the research is initia amVal of serious challenges to the traditional research paradigm from the point of by an already existing member of the organisation or group. of the politics and ideology of the women’s movement. This is particularly suitable where a group is planning or undergoing change a about as stunningly inappropriate that a male should author research on The requires evaluation. Participants take up data-gathering ideas, develop their o Women (I still have the Penguin paperback!) as that white psychologists consider the researcher’s findings or analyse their ct studies on ‘the negro’ (as they once did). directions and results in group meetings. Collaborative research is stages of women’s research involved studies, under a conventional confrontations, but the idea is to build on these natural differences co gm, which destroyed (or should have) traditional stereotypes of women’s The idea is also to end up with participants directing the e or deficiencies relative to men. Research literature now contains a fair amount outside expert’s research findings, about what is wrong eotype challenging and consciousness-raising work. This stage also challenged arriving after research has b.een done on people. of female authorship and visible presence within the research community. Sims (1981) set out to study ‘problem-generation’ in health senrice teams with racism occurred in that, even where women had produced scholarship, found that, as the participants became interested in the issues, they took on their somehow become marginalised or obscured. The overwhelmingly male- lines of investigation. This caused them to consider group dynamic issues th -dominated research community had edged such work to the never thought about and created an atmosphere of awareness raising and c structive change. They were able to develop, with the researcher, many categories The content-oriented phase just described, however, though continuing, has led processes in problem construction which could be transferred (not without addition ealisation by women involved in the research process that the conventional and modification) to other group situations. which they have been using to develop the content are themselves largely the of a male research network and thought-base. s is not to say that women would think, reason and conduct their research OTHER ROOTS AND SOURCES tly, given the opportunity. It would fall back onto old stereotypes to Influences on this directipn of research philosophy are numerous. romineht among them would be: humanism; phenomenology; existentialism; Marxism; the psychoan- alytic tradition; Kelly’s repertory grid work; sociology’s ethnomethodology. The approaches in general tend to be somewhat interdisciplinary, borrowing many ideas from sociology and anthropology in particular. The areas tend to be social psychology and, to some extent, the study of personality. The emphasis is always completely practical and the approaches are at their best appliedto problems or challenges within the fields of educational, organisationd, clinical or criminological psychology (i.e. in applied settings). A COMPLETE ALTERNATIVE? Patton (1 980), an evaluation researcher who advocates the use of a wholly qualitative approach, argues that the hypothetico-deductive method is not bad or wrong, but has simply overwhelmed research in psychology to become not just a major paradigm, suggest that women didn’t tend to use quantification or feel happy testing hypotheses statistically. The logic underlying chess, computer programming and the statistical tests in this book are in a major sense neutral. But they have been ‘owned’ and -, ,!: - promoted for so long by men that it is hardly surprising that when women came to .: - assess their values in the research process they were alerted to methods and research relationships neglected or never taken up by male researchers, and felt by many female researchers to be more valid in representing women’s experience. The position is exemplified in Sue Wilkinson’s Feminist Social Psychology (1986). Recognised as characteristic of a male approach to research and understanding the .; - world are: preoccupation with quantifying variables; an emphasis on control, mastery and manipulation; a tendency to remain distant rather than be involved with the ' subjects of research; a preference for gadget-oriented research over naturalistic enquiry; competition and ego building. In particular, Reinharz (1983) challenges the ;; conventional researcher’s pose of neutrality, where personal attitudes are hidden and deemed irrelevant, and argues that researchers’ attitudes should be fully discussed and their values revealed and clearly located. 178 RESEARCH LETHO HODS AND STATISTICS PSYCHOLOGY NEW PARADIGMS 179 DISCOURSE ANALYSIS (DA) An influential but controversial approach to research has been p 1980s by Potter, Edwards, Middleton and Wetherell (Potter Edwards & Potter, 1992; Middleton & Edwards, 1990) whi approaches mentioned here, extends beyond specific method to ay the very essence of what people normally do when remembering research paradigm, this one called ‘Discursive Psychology’ (the 1992 publication gage in discourse with others or even with ourselves. It is not that title). The approach wholeheartedly treats psychological topics, such as memory : as little Machiavellis, constantly plotting and creating self- . Their emphasis is on studying memory and other traditional attribution theory (two mainstream heartland topics), as pro between people. Memories are not close, or not so close, attempts ay things are done. We normally memorise or attribute with a facts’ but are motivated constructions by people with a ‘stake’ in produci in a contat that matters to us. ‘account’ which may, for instance, suit their defences against blame or account oub&l whether a movement spearheaded by DA will eventuaUy supplant or challenge the current mainstream on its home territory, for instance the What people say, when memorising, cannot be taken as a rather opaque windo cognitive memory processes. The scientific chase after these processes is heartlands of perception, memory, attentionJ roblem-solving and so On. producing much arid theory and artificial results. roach has however quite healthily rattled the establishment (see The Much of the controversial debate is beyond the scope of this book t articles) and produced innovative work, with valuable human applica- times, carries the image of David and Goliath. The flavour of the toing and ly likely to have appeared but for its approach - for instance, the debate can be gained from a read of The Psychologist, October 1992. The r e work with the elderly of Middleton, Buchanan and Suurmond (1993). giving the issue some prominence here is that DA specifically discredits the methods There are strong criticisms of the DA approach, many in too complex a used, particularly in experimental psychology, and blames these for what they feel is a -_ posophical form to present here but in practical research terms the following are distorted model of human cognition and social judgement. They place language as - imponant. The use of ‘verbal protocols’ (see p. 1 10) (e.g. Ericsson & Simon 1984) is action ahead of language as representanon. They don’t believe that we can treat , an example of qualitative data already used in cognitive psychology. DA’s emphasis is schologists’ language as a trusty, objective route to ’what they really entirely on language yet eye-witness testimony research has a lot to do with non- treats language as the constructor of versions of truth as the language occu verbal remembering. Many criticisms centre around the common concern about an infinite number of ways in which I can describe to you my (negative) reliability and validity. How is one researcher’s ‘reading’ of a piece of discourse instance, traditional behaviourism or privatisation of welfare services. checked against another’s? DA supporters argue that this is done, as elsewhere, by not that these are all versions of some ultimate reality inside my head b redefine and negotiate my view each time I attempted to explain it, challenges I receive, my listeners’ views, who else can hear, how form on. Above all, my production is social action. Whereas traditional psychology would look at all the factors I just mentioned and say ’that’s role theory’ or ’there are plenty of experiments looking at how we change that discourse approaches may end up as jus.t ’a researcher’s ideas with examples’. our tone dependent on the listener’, DA’s emphasis is entirely Hitch (1992) argues that DA is valuable but should be seen as complementary, not involved in my production and how 1 handle it whilst trying, for instan g alternative, answering its own questions about memory in ways that credibility. In the ‘Discursive Action Model (DM)’ (Edwards & Pottar, 1992), other researchers should recognise along with their own. My own view, as an analogy remembering and making attributions become redefined as action in the form of reports (ersions, accounts) along with accompanying inferences. The these activities as the reflection of inner mental cognitions. When we remember and attribute in real life, as opposed to the psychology experiment, our accounts attend to go at stripping it!). One worrying aspect of the DA versus conventional debate is DA blame, defence, accountability, explanation and so on. What we often do is to present writers dealing with criticism as more discourse to be analysed rather than answered. rememberings as fact when they are really constructions. The constructions use This is similar to Freudian theorists dealing with criticism on an ad hominem basis by devices, highlighted by DA researchers, which serve the purpose of undermining analysing it in terms of their opponents’ unconscious and aggressive defences - thus alternative constructions. One device, for example, is that of the ’extreme case creating an irrefutable ‘circular’ theory. formulation’ - ’Everyone gives their child a little smack once in a while, don’t they?' would serve the purpose of justifying hitting children, a device Freud called REFLEXIVITY ‘projection’. As we speak we often justify, whilst keeping the appearance objective. . The DA writers talk of ‘stake’ or ‘interest’ and that speakers have a dilemma of trying to ‘attend to interests without being undermined as interested’ (Edwards & Potter, 1992). It is often important to get one’s ‘account’ accepted as ‘fact’ hence the use of impersonal language by authorities - using ‘one’ and the passive voice. We need only think of the way politicians or ‘big chiefs’ phrase their accounts on One of the strong currents within DA and similar approaches, which to some extent - protects it &om the criticism of irrefutability, is its strong relationship and commit- ment to the self-critical theme of REFLEXNITY. This is a term developed within modern sociology in the area of studies of scientific knowledge, but some of its effect is felt in psychology. The philosophy behind the term is recognised, if not fully accepted, by most qualitative or new paradigm researchers. This philosophy is of the lling their attitudes reflects this reflexive phy as a strong theme in feminist psychological research. method by which texts become reflexive are several. My own humble example ted colleagues in the pub, this material is seen as emphases which might emerge CURRENT STATE OF PLAY forces which might lead to one ‘evidence’ people generally h structionist’) view is that much the same process goes the world of real scientists. Having analysed the discourse and thinking of natural scientists in this way was an inevitable consequence. Rather like the animal in Yellow Submarine time, especially in its strongholds and where quantification is clearly useful and writing and analysing because they could see appearing to produce compartmentalised and ’o it, without having someone constantly demand- definition of ‘delayed’ and then comment on our happening the child may be disadvantaged still markers to highlight this process and overall philosophy. Latour (1988) defines a ere is an increasing use of reflexive text as one which, '. . . takes into account its own production and which, by gical research to the extent of warranting a doing so, claims to undo the deleterious effects upon its readers of being believed too (Henwood & Pidgeon, 1992). This article little or too much.” e qualitative-quantitative debate is not just A general principle, then, is to take ‘methodological precautions’ which ensure .preferable methods for varying research contexts. It engages all the debate somehow that readers are aware of your own role in constructing what they are experimentation, positivism, artificiality, political power of the establishment reading, of your own possible ‘stake’ and so on. Mentioned above, Reinharz’s would prefer to see a less adversarial atmosphere in which each side agrees to work with and appreciate the value of the other. Both sides seem to succumb far too easily Latour (1988) argues that even the Bible was meant to be read this way, and was, until readers to simple, insular stereotypes and old-fashioned, non-academic, supremely counter- in the age of empiricism started taking it literally. Productive hostility.