Idiographic and Nomothetic approach

Connor Hargrave
Mind Map by Connor Hargrave, updated more than 1 year ago
Connor Hargrave
Created by Connor Hargrave over 3 years ago
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A level Psychology (Issues and Debates) Mind Map on Idiographic and Nomothetic approach, created by Connor Hargrave on 06/03/2017.

Resource summary

Idiographic and Nomothetic approach
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 Strengths
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.
1.4.1.1 responsible for refocusing psychology back on the individual.
1.5 Criticisms
1.5.1 it's not scientific.
1.5.1.1 however some methods such as case studies and qualitative research are evidence based and seek to be objective; attempts are made to ensure validity.
1.5.1.1.1 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 Interactionism
3.1 Holt (1967) claims there is no thing as a unique individual, the idiographic approach is used for general principles
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 greater understanding.
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