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CHAPTER 2 Perspectives on research

Research methods in clinical psychology: An introduction for students and practitioners Chris Barker, Nancy Pistrang, and Robert Elliott. CHAPTER 2 Perspectives on research. Background issues. Philosophical Professional Political Personal. What is research?. Form ideas. Compare with

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CHAPTER 2 Perspectives on research

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  1. Research methods in clinical psychology:An introduction for students and practitionersChris Barker, Nancy Pistrang, and Robert Elliott CHAPTER 2 Perspectives on research

  2. Background issues • Philosophical • Professional • Political • Personal

  3. What is research? Form ideas Compare with original ideas Gather information Interpret results

  4. Problems in the research cycle • Data gathering • “Ivory tower” isolation • over-confidence • Interpretation • Biases • Reformulation • Dogmatism, rigidity

  5. Pure and applied research Pure (or basic) research addresses the generation and testing of theory. Applied research addresses practical questions -- also known as evaluation/ audit/ quality assurance/ health services research.

  6. Dictionary definition (OED) “A search or investigation directed to the discovery of some fact by careful consideration or study of a subject; a course of critical or scientific enquiry.” Implications: Careful, methodical study Detached, critical, scholarly attitude No prescribed method Discovery versus confirmation Facts and reality

  7. What is science? • Induction • Falsification (Popper) • Kuhn’s historical viewpoint

  8. Induction Observations theories e.g., Freud’s case studies Problems: • Logical basis • Theory-dependence of observation

  9. Deduction Theory inference test “Hypothetico-deductive method”

  10. Popper • good theories make falsifiable predictions • “conjectures and refutations” • e.g., in neuropsychology Problem: status of potentially disconfirmatory evidence

  11. Kuhn’s views Paradigm: accepted theory and methods “Normal science” Scientific revolution: replacement of current paradigm by another Problems: Incommensurability of paradigms No criteria for progress

  12. Intuitive practitioner model Conduct clinical work on basis of personal intuition and of knowledge from sources other than research.

  13. Scientist-practitioner model Articulated in the USA in the 1940s -- also known as the Boulder model (APA, 1947; Raimy, 1950). Clinical psychologists are trained to be clinicians as well as researchers (a twin track approach).

  14. Applied-scientist model (Shapiro, 1967, 1985) Clinical work as a scientific endeavour: • Apply the findings of general psychology • Only use empirically validated assessment methods • Form hypotheses about the nature and determinants of the client's problems and collect data to test these hypotheses. Research and practice are integrated, not dichotomized.

  15. Evidence-based practitioner model Use best current empirical evidence (especially RCTs) to select optimum interventions and assessment methods. (Sackett et al., 1997)

  16. Some underlying dichotomies • Producing versus consuming research • Pure versus applied research • Small-N versus large-N research

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