Qualitative Developmental Research Methods in their Historical and Epistemological Contexts


  • Rainer Diriwächter California Lutheran University
  • Jaan Valsiner Clark University




development, microgenesis, Aktualgenese, Ganzheitspsychologie, qualitative and quantitative methodology, structural transformation, phenomena


Methodology is not a "toolbox" of different methods from which the researcher selects some on the basis of personal or social preferences. If the Ganzheitspsychologie traditions of the last century have taught us anything, then it is the importance for scientific investigation to consider the developmental processes of the whole phenomena. We have taken a closer look at the fundamental ideology underlying qualitative and quantitative methodology in the context of development. For a thorough understanding, we must look critically at the meaning of "development," that is, the directional transformation of wholes. Through a historical overview of "lost" developmental perspectives, we discuss the possibility of a unification of qualitative and quantitative methods. We hope to make clear that methodology is an integrated structure of epistemological processes that can equally reveal and obscure the empirical reality in the knowledge construction process of social scientists. The coordination of the different perspectives depends on the interpretation of phenomena as well as the specific research questions. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs060189


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Author Biographies

Rainer Diriwächter, California Lutheran University

Rainer DIRIWäCHTER is an Assistant Professor of psychology at California Lutheran University. His current interests involve the discipline of Ganzheitspsychologie with emphasis on psychological synthesis.

Jaan Valsiner, Clark University

Jaan VALSINER (http://www.qualitative-research.net/fqs/beirat/valsiner-e.htm) is the founding editor (1995) of the Sage journal, Culture & Psychology. He is a professor of the Department of Psychology, Clark University, USA, where he also edits a journal in the history of psychology—From Past to Future: Clark Papers in the History of Psychology. He has published many books, the most recent of which are The guided mind (Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press, 1998), Culture and human development (London: Sage, 2000) and Comparative study of human cultural development (Madrid: Fundacion Infancia y Aprendizaje, 2001). He has edited the book: Heinz Werner and developmental science (NY: Kluwer, 2005), as well as (with Kevin CONNOLLY) the Handbook of Developmental Psychology (London: Sage, 2003).




How to Cite

Diriwächter, R., & Valsiner, J. (2006). Qualitative Developmental Research Methods in their Historical and Epistemological Contexts. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-7.1.72



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