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Toward Phenomenologically Based Research in Psychology

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Our position is that psychology must have a sound basis if it is to develop properly. Due to the historical influences of the physical sciences on the development of psychology, we do not believe that psychology has been developing within a proper frame of reference and it is our opinion that a phenomenological perspective can provide a more adequate frame of reference. This is true for experimental psychology as well as clinical psychology and personality theory. However, in order to understand the project of phenomenological psychology, it should be understood that a wholly different way of looking at psychological subject matter and methods is being suggested and thus, standard natural scientific criteria are not applicable. The lack of appreciation of this fact has led to innumerable misunderstandings in the past and still contributes to communication problems in the present. Consequently, after the clarification of key terms and after speaking to these difficulties of communication, the approach in this article was to speak from within the perspective of phenomenological psychology itself and we have tried to describe the general kinds of problems that spontaneously arose when we attempted to do research on psychological phenomena. The presence of these problems in no way altered our fundamental thesis that, in principle, it is possible to conduct precise and rigorous experiments within the framework of phenomenological psychology even though different means of executing precision and rigor will have to be invented. The specific challenge mentioned in this paper concerning the articulation of the praxis of phenomenological psychology was seen in the light of being able to conceive of new ways of approaching the phenomena of psychology, and this is essentially a theoretical task.


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