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Methodologies

Methodologies

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Methodologies

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    1. Methodologies This is preparation for the following exam question: Evaluate the methodologies used by the psychodynamic approach.(6)

    2. You need to be able to Explain and discuss at least TWO relevant research methodologies. (case study and projective tests) Identify TWO strengths and TWO limitations for EACH methodology. Identify at least ONE example for each (dream analysis or free association and Rorschach or H-T-P)

    3. You could discuss: Freud's case studies (do not discuss Freud's dream analysis and free association as methodologies, but as part of the case study method) Projective tests (do not discuss Rorschach Inkblot Test and House-Tree-Person as methodologies, but as part of the projective test method) N.B. We will experience ink blot tests in class!

    4. You should include a discussion of at least TWO of the following when evaluating: validity reliability whether or not conclusions can be generalized ethical considerations cultural consideration

    5. Method One: Case Study Freud uses case studies. This is a research investigation that involves detailed study of a single individual or event. In short, they are in-depth studies of individuals or small groups. Usually conducted over an extended period of time.

    6. Part of the case study method A variety of techniques can be employed including personal interviews and direct observations. They are usually used for a single case design. Discuss either Freud's dream analysis or free association as part of the case study method.

    8. Read the case Study Here Hans' fear of horses was supposed to represent his fear of his father, whilst going through the Oedipus complex. That may well apply to Little Hans. There were many instances in the Case Study where leading questions (questions where the answer is suggested in the question) were asked, as a consequence of the father being a follower of Freud. A more rational explanation of Hans' fear of horses is that, as a small boy, he saw a horse fall in the street (this was confirmed by his parents) and Hans was conditioned to fear horses just as Little Albert was conditioned to fear white fluffy things.

    9. Dream analysis forms part of the case study method Dream analysis allows the assessor to find themes and hidden meaning in the patients dreams. Freud believed that all dreams consist of manifest, or obvious content, and latent, or hidden content. The manifest content of dreams are the story like details that we share with others. For example, dreaming of flying would include details of how it came about, who was there, where the person flew, how fast, how high, etc. The latent content consists of bits and pieces of the unconscious that seep out while we are asleep and our defence mechanisms are their weakest. The dream of flying may represent a deeper unconscious need for freedom, a fear becoming too grounded or stuck, or perhaps even an expression of one's sexual impulses. The interpretation afforded a specific dream can vary dramatically and most agree that using this technique in conjunction with other information is its only ethical use.

    10. Free Association forms part of the case study method A method that is used as part of a case study is Free Association. This is where there is a target word given to the client, who, without thinking too much, is asked to respond. Freud would sit in his chair behind the patient so as not to allow any projection to occur. He would then allow the patient to talk, without interruption or guidance, for an extended period. Freud would take notes, analyze themes, and piece together aspects of the unconscious that peak out. Others might provide a topic for this free association, such as 'mother' or 'anger' and then sit back to allow the patient to freely associate. Without pressures, anxiety, or fears, the aspects of the unconscious are more free to show themselves. Interrupting or guiding the patient would therefore strengthen the defences and push the unconscious impulses back down.

    11. Evaluation: Strengths Flexibility The case study approach is a comparatively flexible method of scientific research. Because its project designs seem to emphasize exploration rather than prescription or prediction, researchers are comparatively freer to discover and address issues as they arise in their experiments. In addition, the looser format of case studies allows researchers to begin with broad questions and narrow their focus as their experiment progresses rather than attempt to predict every possible outcome before the experiment is conducted. Emphasis on Context By seeking to understand as much as possible about a single subject or small group of subjects, case studies specialize in "deep data," or "thick description"--information based on particular contexts that can give research results a more human face. This emphasis can help bridge the gap between abstract research and concrete practice by allowing researchers to compare their firsthand observations with the quantitative results obtained through other methods of research. The amount of data can be extensive and in depth and is therefore qualitative and idiographic.

    12. Evaluation: Weaknesses The main problem with this, is that it is extremely subjective, in that it is the therapist who decides what the responses of the client/participant mean. Furthermore, how does the therapist know that the client/participant is giving responses 'uncensored'? The case study has long been stereotyped as the weak sibling among social science methods," and is often criticized as being too subjective and even pseudo-scientific. The approach relies on personal interpretation of data and inferences. Results may not be easy to generalise, are difficult to test for validity, and rarely offer a problem-solving prescription. Simply put, relying on one or a few subjects as a basis for cognitive extrapolations runs the risk of inferring too much from what might be circumstance. Ethical Considerations Researchers conducting case studies should consider certain ethical issues. For example, many educational case studies are often financed by people who have, either directly or indirectly, power over both those being studied and those conducting the investigation (1985). This conflict of interests can hinder the credibility of the study.

    13. Other ideas Advantages 1. Good source of ideas about behaviour 2. Good opportunity for innovation 3. Good method to study rare phenomena 4. Good method to challenge theoretical assumptions 5. Good alternative or complement to the group focus of psychology Disadvantages 1. Hard to draw definite cause-effect conclusions 3. Possible biases in data collection and interpretation (since single person gathers and analyzes the information)

    14. Remember You need to learn two strengths and two weaknesses of the case study method. To do this, pick the ones that you can write about in detail. You will need to write about either dream analysis or free association in detail. Pick the one you are comfortable with and learn it.

    15. Method Two: Projective Techniques One of Freud's defence mechanisms is called projection: the projecting of one's own unconscious and often anxiety provoking impulses onto a less threatening person or object. In other words, a person who has an unconscious need for aggression may become actively involved in crime prevention and may criticize violence. What they are really doing, according to Freud and others, is seeing this tendency in the self, acknowledging it and the associated anxiety and then throwing it outside the self to relieve anxiety. The person can now criticize or attack the self without the associated anxiety. The idea of projection prompted many psychoanalytic and psychodynamic theorists to devise ways of accessing the buried information by allowing the patient to project it somewhere else. This resulted in the birth of the projective techniques of assessment. The basic idea is to provide neutral and non-threatening stimuli to a patient and then ask them to interpret ambiguous pictures, fill in the blanks, make associations, or tell stories. If the theory of projection is true, then the clients will project their own unconscious impulses onto the non-threatening stimuli, allowing the assessor to interpret and move the patient toward increased insight.

    16. Rorschach Inkblot Test form part of the projective tests method The Rorschach is the most commonly used projective technique. The test consists of ten white cards with blots of ink on them in either black, black and red, or multi-coloured. These inkblots were originally random in design and these have been maintained although much research has gone into each card. If you've ever looked to the sky and saw images in the clouds, then you can appreciate the idea behind the Rorschach. If the cards have no specific shape (see example to the left), just like the clouds, the shapes we see are projections from our unconsciousness. In other words, it is not uncommon for children to see bunny rabbits, kitty cats and monsters in the clouds. These images represent their needs for life and love as well as their underlying fears about death and aggression. to lag far behind more commonly used assessment devices such as the MMPI.

    17. House-Tree-Person-form part of the projective test method. The House-Tree-Person test (H-T-P) requires no specific materials and is not standardized at all. The assessor tells the individual to draw a picture of a house, a tree, and a person. Once completed, he may ask the individual to tell a story related to each picture, including the who, what, where, how, and why's of each. Different methods of interpretation are utilized, and depending on the assessor's training and theoretical approach, different interpretations can arise. Like most projective techniques, it's strength lies in weakening the defences and getting a clearer picture of the unconscious.

    18. Remember You need to learn either HTP or Rorschach. Pick the one that you feel you can learn about in detail.

    19. Strengths The research that has taken place with the Rorschach cards has produced a standardized protocol, eliminating the biggest criticism of projective tests. They have also helped us develop standardized interpretation which allows for more congruency between evaluators. The standardization allows us to compare the results of one person's Rorschach to another's. Strengths- These projective techniques are gaining more and more research support as they become more standardised and researched, but they are still open to a lot of different interpretations. Ideally, most psychologists see these tests as a way to gain information about an individual although they recommend they be used in conjunction with other assessment techniques.

    20. Weaknesses Too many other variables besides internal feelings enter into drawings Stimuli may not be as ambiguous as assumed to be Every aspect does not necessarily relate to a personality attributes Assumes existence of unconscious & its influence on behaviour Situational Variables If really tap unconscious- should not be affected by testing situation but they are influenced by many things both interpersonal & situational Problems also with other things entering into interpretations Psychometric Considerations Many studies not properly done - difficult to measure reliability much less validity Big argument between academicians & clinicians over usefulness of instruments Both of these techniques rely on the fact that given the information is ambiguous, then the Unconscious Mind's fears and desires will influence what sort of responses the client/participant gives. Again, these are highly subjective tests and there is no objective evidence that these work, in fact there is some that suggest they do not: One of the blots looks like a figure that has both a penis and breasts, the gender suggested by the client/participant is supposed to indicate whether the testee is homo- or hetero-sexual. This same card was given to 1000 people, some who were homosexual and some who were heterosexual, and there was no pattern to the gender given to the figure in the blot.

    21. Remember You need to learn about two stengths and two weaknesses of the projective tests method.