Hermeneutic Psychological Research   [Archived Catalog]
2017-2018 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook

RES 4900 - Hermeneutic Psychological Research

In the social sciences it is widely acknowledged that human beings spontaneously express themselves through stories that embody self-identity and collective identity. This course introduces students to a hermeneutic approach to investigating the psychological meanings in the stories through which people articulate important lived-experiences. Students will study the philosophical background of hermeneutics, be introduced to a methodical approach to conducting hermeneutic psychological research, and conduct an interview-based course project.

The hermeneutic tradition, like the phenomenological tradition as a whole, offers a well-articulated philosophical foundation that can be adapted for psychological research. A hermeneutic approach pays careful attention not only to the biographical context of research participants, but also the communal, cultural-linguistic, and historical contexts within which people narrate their lives.  Such research is not simply a "re-telling" of peoples' stories. Rather, peoples' narratives are psychologically complex and so must be carefully analyzed in order to yield scholarly knowledge. (Ph.D. program only) Prerequisite(s): Completion of RES 1015 . 3 credit(s)