Cultural Psychology: Qualitative Approaches

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As a research model, cultural-psychologist are more inclined to embrace qualitative methodologies. In contrast, cross-cultural studies emphasize positivistic value approaches. However, as a developing discipline, cultural psychology parades unsolidified characteristics and boundaries. The newness of the field presents certain challenges among researchers when attempting to clearly define the concepts, principles and practices within the field of study. As such, the theoretical approaches employed by cultural psychologist are abundant, and so too are the corresponding methodologies used to conduct research. According to Ratner (2008), “…cultural psychology consists of diverse theoretical perspective which utilize qualitative methods differently” …show more content…
In an effort to assess the vastness and provide a meaningful description of theories and qualitative the methodologies in use by cultural psychologist, Ratner (2008) illustrates an operational typology, where micro and macro level theories are discussed in conjunction with formal and informal processes. Ratner (2008), exclaims, that “[t]he two dimensions’ touch on related important issues such as realism, subjectivism, relativism, constructivism, reductionism, emergence, atomism, holism, and objectivity” (p. 260). The dimensions identified in the typology, not only have wide-reaching implications for cultural psychology, they also hold considerable sway across the social sciences and anthropology alike. The micro and macro levels of the cultures under consideration and the formality and informality of the qualitative methodology facilitate a substantial portion of research in the discipline of cultural …show more content…
266). As depicted by the four quadrants of Ratner’s (2008), typology, some macro-psychologists use formal methods (Quadrant I), whereas other macro oriented theorists employ informal methodologies (Quadrant III). Conversely, a number of micro-cultural psychologist choose to implement formal practices (Quadrant II), while other choose more informal qualitative approaches (Quadrant IV). Formal mythologies are rigorous procedures that use systematic processes to research, collect data, and perform statistical analysis. Formal methodology is based on the assumption that the tangible components of cultural psychology are exceedingly complex, to the degree that people who are themselves participants are unable to decipher the intricacies of the psychological phenomena. In contrast, informal methodologies are often described as impressionist procedures structured to describe and interpret the construct of cultural-psychology. Informal processes are based on several ontological and epistemological suppositions. One such assumption, proposes that cultural-psychology is transparent, and may be observed and qualified through enacted and observable behaviors and statements (pp.

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