1 Idiographic Approach - focuses on individuals
and emphasises uniqueness; qualitative in
nature as focuses on in depth insight into
human behavior, quality and quantity.
1.1 unstructured interviews, case
studies, thematic analysis.
1.2 Freud (1909) Little Hans - case
study, researched 150 pages of
quotes from hans' father and
freud's own interpretations.
1.3 Humanistic psychologists use the
ideographic approach as they are
concerned with the whole person.
1.4.1 Allport (1961) - the first person to use
the term "idiographic", said that
psychology needed a drastic
re-orientation as psychologists had lost
sight of what it was to be human. he
argued that only by fully understanding
the individual could we predict how
they might act in a given situation.
22.214.171.124 responsible for
back on the individual.
1.5.1 it's not
126.96.36.199 however some methods such as case
studies and qualitative research are
evidence based and seek to be objective;
attempts are made to ensure validity.
188.8.131.52.1 some qualitative tests use
reflexivity to assess factors
which might affect the
researcher and participants.
1.5.2 Inability to produce general predictions about
behaviour - this is important in the creation of drug
therapies etc... which is a major limitation.
furthermore would be far too time consuming to
produce personal therapies for every individual
(suggests idiographic approach is not suitable for
developing psychological treatments).
1.5.3 Time Consuming - both approaches based on
large amounts of data but idiographic approach is
about just 1 person. recording large amounts of
data about a group is relatively quicker bc the
data can be generated more easily. Idiographic
approach is less efficient at data collection.
2 Nomothetic Approach - tries to formulate
general laws of behaviour and is based
on the study of groups. studies large
samples in order to make generalisations;
they use quantitative methods in the
same way as the scientific results.
2.1 Biological approach takes a
nomothetic stance as they try to
formulate general laws about how
the body and brain work.
2.2 Behavioural psychologists produce
general laws of behaviour e.g. classical
and operant conditioning.
3.1 Holt (1967) claims there is no
thing as a unique individual, the
idiographic approach is used for
3.2 distinction between
approaches is false
3.3 Millon and David (1996) -
researchers should start a study
using the nomothetic approach
and then focus on idiographic for