A Qualitative Research Method to Explore Meaning-Making Processes in Cultural Psychology

  • Olga V. Lehmann NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Kyoko Murakami University of Bath
  • Sven Hroar Klempe NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Keywords: affect, meaning-making, micro genesis, thematic analysis, process, cultural psychology


In this article, we introduce developmentally oriented thematic analysis (DOTA) as a possibility to study the process-oriented aspects of qualitative data analysis when undertaking the intra- and inter-individual analysis of case studies. We describe the main methodological considerations of this approach as a method to study the multi-layered nature of affective processes, which can recall both experiential and existential layers of meaning-making. We do so by analyzing the diary entries of study participants who attended a course taught at a Norwegian university and who used journals to reflect upon their experiences in class, such as the "silent time" they embraced each morning. Process-oriented narratives give account of the coexistent directionalities of higher psychological functions, and the degrees of differentiation or undifferentiation of the affective processes involved in them. One aspect that facilitated such amplification of the multiple layers of affective processes was the focus on silence-phenomena, due to the contrast they induce, and the way in which they promote attentional shifts.


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Author Biographies

Olga V. Lehmann, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Olga V. LEHMANN, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Mental Health, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She also leads the Health and Compassionate programs at Pracademy. She is a poetess, teacher, psychologist and researcher interested in feelings and emotions, silence-phenomena, communication, poetic instants and wellbeing. She has edited "Acompañar la finitud" (LEHMANN, 2014), as well as co-edited "Poetry and Imagined Worlds" (LEHMANN, CHAUDHARY, BASTOS & ABBEY, 2017) and "Deep Experiencing: Dialogues Within the Self" (LEHMANN & VALSINER, 2017).

Kyoko Murakami, University of Bath

Kyoko MURAKAMI, PhD, has worked as an associate professor in psychology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Her research focuses on social remembering, learning and identity, examining language use and social relations in practices of education and discourses of remembering. Her research draws on discursive psychology, cultural psychology and discourse analysis. Her recent educational research includes internationalization and a co-edited book titled "Dialogic Pedagogy" (SKIDMORE & MURAKAMI, 2016). Since 1998, she has been researching international reconciliation practices such as war grave pilgrimages by British veterans (e.g., MURAKAMI, 2014), family reminiscence (MURAKAMI & JACOBS, 2017), the materiality of memory (MURAKAMI, 2017) and the succession of memories of catastrophes and disasters in Japan (in progress).

Sven Hroar Klempe, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Sven Hroar KLEMPE, PhD, is associate professor in psychology at the Department of Psychology NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim. His background includes full professor in musicology, associate professor in media studies, teacher and journalist. His research is cross-disciplinary with an emphasis on the history of psychology, culture and psychology, theory of science, communication and music psychology. His recent books are "Kierkegaard and the Rise of Modern Psychology" (KLEMPE, 2014b), and he also edited "Cultural Psychology of Musical Experience" (KLEMPE, 2016).

How to Cite
Lehmann, O. V., Murakami, K., & Klempe, S. H. (2019). A Qualitative Research Method to Explore Meaning-Making Processes in Cultural Psychology. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-20.2.3190