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Introduction CRiSP Chapter 1 – Introduction Such distinctions highlight the purpose of research –

but they are not the same as a researcher’s model or


Core topics for SP (according to the BPS) are: While there are obvious differences between theory.
quantitative and qualitative research, a more subtle
• Close relationships distinction is that between description and Research that attempts to model and predict is
• Attitudes interpretation. conducted by people who are aware of the
• Attribution complexities in the world – but they deliberately put
• Intragroup processes Phenomenologists argue the two cannot be neatly aside such detail to concentrate on particular applied
• Intergroup processes divided but it is one way of thinking about a number of explanations or interventions.
• Conformity SP research issues.
• Individual differences Research that embraces the complexity has an
Such a distinction is relevant to the type of knowledge opposite purpose – to draw attention to it, explore it
DD307 does not present a ‘before and after’ story – claims made – so are relevant to the ‘epistemological and make multiple connections – an explicit feature of
debate and criticism is an ongoing part of how SP stance’ (Gill). E.g. Surveys and observations used to discursive research for example. Psychoanalytic
changes and develops. created statistical analyses are intended to represent research takes this further and incorporates
an external ‘real world’. Such a view of what unconscious meanings too.
Some authors do tell it as a ‘binary’ story – e.g. knowledge is contrasts with social constructionist
Hollway; Stainton-Rogers – i.e. as a period of crisis research (Phoenix) – where no straightforward The larger project of SP is debated too –
which led to divergence of work into ‘mainstream’ and representation is argued to exist and which explicitly experimentalists (Eagly and Chaiken) argue it is about
‘other’ (critical disciplines). acknowledges the role of the researcher in ‘understanding the causes of behaviour’ (e.g. in groups
interpreting data (quantitative or qualitative). – relating to prejudice and conflict); CSP might argue
But some areas that started in the ‘critical’ camp have the use/misuse of power and inequality (e.g. gender,
now gained popularity and prestige in their own right – Also related to the issue of objectivity – and whether race, class) are the main issues to be addressed – e.g.
for example, discursive psychology. this is actually possible to achieve in research. The within institutional settings such as hospitals, prisons
assumption that it is possible underlies scientific and schools.
Prilleltensky and Nelson – critical psychology is an research but is challenged by critical psychology – e.g.
approach rather than a field in itself. Billig – SP is not value free as it reflects the culture in CSP is social in nature – as it is always socially
which it is produced. situated. This is very different to ESP work which
Gill – ‘critical’ = a political project and an attempts to find universalities of personality and
epistemological stance. Interpretive methods are more likely to be used by behaviour, for example. CSP turns from the external
critical psychologist (but not all interpretive characteristics of the self to tackle the experience of
Critical contrasts researchers classify themselves as ‘critical’). The selfhood (Gough and McFadden) – subjectivity. Linked
‘critical’ label is usually adopted to mark concern with with ‘subject’ (psychoanalysis) and ‘subject position’ –
Those who argue ‘critical social psychology’ is a issues of power and inequality in contemporary social Foucault’s concept of how identities are derived from
separate sub-discipline of SP (e.g. Hepburn, Stainton- contexts. where we are located in a socio-cultural context (i.e.
Rogers) identify a number of contrasting positions. not from within us). Hepburn argues subjectivity is the
These encompass differences in: Experimental SP models the world in terms of central concern for CSP.
variables, using an element of control to figure out
cause and effect. This necessarily results in a The delineation and exploration of subjectivity (e.g. is
• Research practices
simplification of the world as it is. Contrasts markedly it rational or unconscious; fragmented or unified) has
• Underlying methods
with the ‘untidier’ world-view of psychosocial become the major project for many SP researchers – as
• Assumptions about the creation of new knowledge researchers for example. an alternative to the concerns with the causes of
• The purpose of research behaviour (Hollway).
• What the larger project of psychology is about
Tim Holyoake 2010, http://www.tenpencepiece.net/