The Challenge Of Phenomenal Change For Research Methodology

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Human Development


The papers of this symposium examine, within the context of several content areas, the methodological implications of a dialectical perspective. Rappoport reviews the four papers of the symposium suggesting that they represent a revolutionary perspective on psychological methodology. Lerner, Skinner, and Sorrell propose five prototypic issues derived from dialectics – relationism, evolving reciprocity, probabilism, timing, and the nonequivalent temporal metric. They argue that these issues, while not changing the scientific method, have implications for specific procedures. Meacham suggests the implications of dialectics for methodology may be illustrated by three dialogues: within the researcher, between the researcher and research participant, and between the researcher and the sociohistorical context. He argues that traditional methodology can be strengthened by embedding it within these dialogues. Gadlin suggests that conceptual and methodological approaches to the study of the family fundamentally reflect the sociohistorical context within which they are embedded. He argues for the development of a philosophical anthropology and comparative methodology appropriate to the study of humans as social beings. Gergen identifies three functions of scientists in a changing world: conceptual constructivist, change agent, and prognosticator. He argues methodology should be designed to facilitate these goals.

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