Situating Qualitative Methods in Psychological Science: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Situating Qualitative Methods in Psychological Science

1st Edition

Edited by Brian Schiff


116 pages

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Hardback: 9780815353423
pub: 2018-07-10
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Although qualitative approaches to psychological research have a long history in the discipline, they have also been, and remain, marginalized from the canon of mainstream scientific psychology. At the current moment, however, there is growing recognition of the importance of qualitative methods and a movement toward a more inclusive and eclectic stance on psychological research. This volume reflects upon the historical and contemporary place of qualitative methods in psychology and considers future possibilities for further integration of these methods in the discipline. Scholars representing a wide-range of perspectives in qualitative and theoretical psychology reflect on the historical and contemporary positions of qualitative methods in psychology with an eye to the future of research and theory in the discipline. This book encourages a more critical and inclusive stance on research, recognizing both the limits and contributions that different methodological approaches can make to the project of psychological knowledge.


"There is an extended literature on qualitative methods, with much attention given to details and technicalities. But why is there a need for such approaches at all, whether they are called non-reductionist, holistic, or meaning-centered? Why do we need methods that are radically different from those used in traditional psychology? This book offers some fundamental answers to these questions. It takes a look at psychology as a whole: as the project of a comprehensive exploration of the human being in the world. And it reminds us of its still unfulfilled promises."

--Jens Brockmeier, The American University of Paris, France

"This compendium of work by distinguished scholars updates our view of psychological science to include the growing recognition of qualitative inquiry. These writers tackle the hard methodological questions and argue wisely for pluralism and integration as the future of psychology. It’s a must-read for researchers."

--Ruthellen Josselson, Fielding Graduate University, USA

Table of Contents

Series Editor’s Foreword

Brent D. Slife

Introduction: Situating Qualitative Methods in Psychological Science

Brian Schiff

Chapter 1: Some Historical Perspective on the Marginalization of Qualitative Methods Within Mainstream Scientific Psychology

James T. Lamiell

Chapter 2: Quantitative, Qualitative, or Mixed? Should Philosophy Guide Method Choice?

Kathleen L. Slaney and Donna Tafreshi

Chapter 3: Qualitative Methods as Fundamental Tools: Autonomy and Integration in Mixed Methods Research

Frederick J. Wertz

Chapter 4: Qualitative Psychology and the New Pluralism

Kenneth J. Gergen

Chapter 5: Qualitative Methods Enhance Our Understanding and Treatment of People with Alzheimer’s Disease

Steven R. Sabat

Chapter 6: Understanding Psychology, Differently

Brian Schiff

Chapter 7: Qualitative Psychology’s Coming of Age: Are There Grounds for Hope?

Mark Freeman

About the Editor

Brian Schiff is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at the American University of Paris and Director of the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention. He is the author of A New Narrative for Psychology (2017), editor of Rereading Personal Narrative and Life Course (2014), and co-editor of Life and Narrative: The Risks and Responsibilities for Storying Experience (2017).

About the Series

Advances in Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology

The founders of psychology — thinkers such as Wundt, Freud, and Spencer — recognized the importance of psychologists formulating for themselves the conceptual foundations of the discipline. These parents of psychology not only did their own theorizing, in cooperation with many others; they realized the significance of constantly re-examining these theories and philosophies, including the theories and philosophies of psychology’s methods.

The Advances in Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology series is dedicated to this examining and re-examining. It identifies the pivotal and problematic non-empirical issues that face the discipline and addresses these issues in the tradition of the theorists of natural science — uncovering the implicit concepts and hidden assumptions of programs of research and strategies of practice to compare them to concepts and assumptions that might be better.

To learn more about the series or to propose a title, please contact Brent Slife ( and Christina Chronister (

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