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A Disquisition on Pluralism in Qualitative Methods: The Troublesome Case of a Critical Narrative Analysis

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This article uses a research example as a case study of qualitative pluralism in practice to analyse issues involved. The case was a critical narrative analysis of interview data about clinical psychologists' Personal and Professional Development (PPD). The rationale for a pluralist methodology to address critical research questions is described. To examine participants' PPD in terms of the relationship between individual subjectivities, group identities and societal power relations, elements of IPA, Grounded Theory, DA, and critical deconstruction were combined within a narrative methodology.

The pluralist project of multiperspectivity was endangered by the use of critical theory to impose interdependency between methods/levels of analysis. Philosophical errors disrupting the logic of justifiable conclusions were possible. More rigorous, critical reflexivity and thoughtfulness about “epistemological anarchism” (Feyerabend 1975) are needed. Added value (richness, integration, and capacity to consider more interesting and important research questions) nonetheless makes the case for pluralist methodologies strong in the context of research as wider social activity.
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Keywords: clinical psychology; diversity; epistemology; identity; narrative; ontology; pluralism; professional development; qualitative methods

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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