Fundamentals of Research on Culture and Psychology: Theory and Methods, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Fundamentals of Research on Culture and Psychology

Theory and Methods, 1st Edition

By Valery Chirkov


326 pages

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Paperback: 9780415820325
pub: 2015-11-12
Hardback: 9780415820318
pub: 2015-11-30
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pub: 2015-11-19
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This is the first book that provides detailed guidelines of how to conduct multi-disciplinary research to study people’s behaviors in different cultures. Readers are encouraged to look beyond disciplinary boundaries to address issues between individuals and their socio-cultural environments so as to design the most effective studies possible. The core philosophical and theoretical assumptions that underlie the strategies, designs, and techniques used when researching cultural issues are examined. The book reviews all the steps that go into doing cultural research from formulating the research problem to selecting the most appropriate method for data analysis. Realist and interpretivist paradigms together with the theory of cultural models and quantitative, qualitative, mixed-method, and multiple-design strategies are reviewed. Case studies, ethnographies, and interviewing techniques are emphasized throughout. Chapters open with learning objectives and end with a conclusion, a glossary, questions, exercises, and recommended readings. Numerous multidisciplinary examples, tables, and figures demonstrate and synthesize the analysis of data. Information boxes provide historical notes and how-to boxes provide tips on methodological issues.

Highlights include:

-Encourages researchers to breach disciplinary boundaries to address the problems of human functioning in different cultures (Chs. 1 & 2).

-Introduces readers to the theory of cultural models that helps bridge the human mind and socio-cultural realities (Chs. 2 & 10).

-Propagates the realist and interpretivist philosophical paradigms for doing cultural studies and demonstrates how to use these approaches when studying people in different cultures (Chs. 3 & 4).

-Helps readers formulate productive research questions, articulate concepts, and understand the role theories play in cultural research (Ch. 5 - 6).

-Reviews research designs including case-based and variable-based ones, person-centered ethnography, interviewing, and quantitative studies (Chs. 7 - 10). provides instructors with Power Points, additional references and studies, and questions for discussion and evaluation for each chapter and students with chapter outlines and objectives, key terms and concepts with a hotlink to the definition, and suggested readings and websites.

Part 1 explores disciplinary and theoretical thinking to help readers connect different disciplines, theories, and philosophical paradigms in a logical way. Part 2 reviews planning research with an emphasis on defining the research problem. Here readers learn to articulate the purpose of the study and the research questions, work with related conceptual and theoretical foundations, and identify various research strategies including nomothetic and idiographic approaches, variable- and case-based studies, and potential sampling problems. Part 3 reviews the practical aspects of doing cultural research -- how to use various research designs including experimental, quasi-experimental, correlational studies, mixed method designs, and ethnographic and qualitative studies. Methodological problems specific to researching cultural issues such as the equivalence of concepts, the translation of instruments, and verifying measurement invariance are reviewed. Readers are also introduced to ethnography including practical elements such as language training, formal document requirements, and issues related to working in an unfamiliar community. The book concludes with the most crucial aspects of conducting ethical cultural psychological research. 

Intended for advanced undergraduate or graduate courses that conduct cultural or cross-cultural research including cross-(cultural) psychology, culture and psychology, or research methods/design courses in psychology, anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, social work, education, geography, international relations, business, nursing, public health, and communication, the book also appeals to researchers interested in conducting cross-cultural and cultural studies. Prerequisites include introductory courses on research methods and cross-cultural/cultural psychology. 


"An excellent educational source about how to think, plan, and conduct research on culture and psychology, the author aims at building confidence and effective thinking in those studying research methodology in psychology and social sciences. A fine source for upper division and graduate classes." - Eric Shiraev, George Mason University, USA

Chirkov’s book brings a fresh breeze into a developing field of sophisticated psychological research in the multicultural societies of our globalized world. Very different from many outdated dogmatic stances, this open-minded author offers a fascinating panorama of paradigms, theories and methods. The clearly written textbook is full of theoretical challenges and practical recommendations for advanced researchers and inquisitive students."- Jurgen Straub, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

"A thoughtful exploration of fundamental issues arising in psychological research on cultural similarities and differences, the book encourages philosophical reflection and engages the much harder question of the "why" of research. This text should be indispensable to the beginning or seasoned researcher who studies psychological processes in cultural context." - Charles Helwig, University of Toronto, Canada

„If everybody … would read this book before doing cross-cultural, cultural, or anthropological research, the body of research would be dramatically improved … because it teaches the reader why and for what purpose one conducts research on culture and psychology. …This is much more than a methods text. … It is about all the steps that go into doing cross-cultural research." – David W. Shwalb, Southern Utah University, USA

"This has the potential of being the go-to book for the field of cultural and cross-cultural psychology. …The coverage is solid and comprehensive. …The learning tools are excellent! They are clever and interesting." - Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda, New York University, USA

Table of Contents

Part 1: Thinking and Reflecting 1. Disciplinary thinking: From anthropology to psychology 2. Theoretical thinking: Four perspectives in studying psychology in sociocultural contexts 3. Philosophical thinking: Induction, deduction, and positivism 4. Philosophical thinking: Abduction, retroduction, interpretivism, and realism Part 2: Planning Research 5. Research problem, purposes, and research questions6. Working with concepts, terms, and theories 7. Research strategies and designs Part 3: Practical aspects of doing research 8. The types of studies on culture and psychology 9. Quantitative comparative studies: Equivalence, translation, and measurement invariance 10. Ethnography 11. Ethical concernsConclusion: Final words of encouragement Index

About the Author

Valery Chirkov is Professor of Psychology at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Experimental Methods
PSYCHOLOGY / Research & Methodology
PSYCHOLOGY / Ethnopsychology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Methodology


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