Subjectivity and Objectivity in Qualitative Methodology

  • Carl Ratner Institute for Cultural Research and Education
Keywords: subjectivity, objectivity, postmodernism, hermeneutics, subject-object


This article argues that subjective processes, social relations, and artifacts (including research instruments and methods) enable researchers to objectively comprehend psychological phenomena. This position opposes the postmodernist contention that subjective processes, social relations, and artifacts interfere with objectivity. The article outlines a hermeneutic procedure for interpreting narratives in a way that comprehends the real psychological meanings that are expressed. This procedure is contrasted with an impressionistic summary of a narrative which imposes the researcher's theoretical perspective on the protocol instead of elucidating the subject's meanings. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0203160


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Author Biography

Carl Ratner, Institute for Cultural Research and Education
Carl RATNER ( has been developing a theoretical and methodological approach to cultural psychology for several decades. He has published Cultural Psychology and Qualitative Methodology: Theoretical & Empirical Considerations (Plenum, 1997) and Cultural Psychology: Theory & Method (Plenum, 2002). RATNER currently gives workshops on qualitative methodology especially in relation to cultural psychology. His articles can be read on his web site:

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