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Philosophical Perspectives on Qualitative Psychological and Social Science Research!

When we engage in Psychological and other forms of Social Science research, there are many philosophical questions and/or approaches that may be asked and considerations that should be kept in mind. These include, but are not limited to, the nature of the data and information that will be gathered and how this is collected, the types of inquiries we are engaged in and the form that questions may take, the position of the researcher within the research process, coupled with reflexivity. In terms of philosophy, we intend to examine the varying and often complex underpinnings of interpretivism and postmodernism, for instance. There are many more features to the undertaking of qualitative research, within which this Research Topic will discuss.

Psychological and Social Science research is often designed, conducted, and analyzed with the goal of revealing specific answers to specific questions. However, there are meta-questions that may be asked about the nature of the research process itself and how this will influence the development of knowledge from the findings we produce in our studies. We believe that by considering these meta-questions, the researcher positions his or her research in a way that is most likely to yield meaningful and trustworthy results. Qualitative research is a growing area within Psychology research, which comes with its own specific philosophies. There is, however, a growing evidence base, including several books that seek to address the philosophical differences associated with human subject research, whilst suggesting best practices for researchers. It is the aim of this research to bring together academics with a variety of perspectives on the important philosophical and up-to-date considerations that will help inform researchers in conducting their own research. In short, qualitative research offers a plethora of opportunities for prospective researchers. Here, we intend to focus on the virtues and the offerings it has to original empiricism.

The scope of this topic will include a wide spectrum of qualitative methods and methodologies. For instance, we will seek to collect ethnography, phenomenology, grounded theory, action research, and also mixed-method approaches. A key feature in our selection will be how these methodologies help inform psychological research and help both develop and inform current literature. Whilst feminist, ecological and advocacy perspectives will be considered it will not remain a core feature. Importantly, the power of the application of qualitative approaches will remain key. It is envisaged that a number of different types of articles could lend themselves to this research area.

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