Four research strategies currently employed by mainstream psychologists in researching the experiences and behaviors of human subjects are criticized for diminishing the presence of subjectivity. Two perspectives that tend to exaggerate subjectivity are also criticized. A balanced approach to subjectivity is offered that: (1) acknowledges a theoretical perspective that recognizes that there are invisible or nonsensorial characteristics of subjectivity that have to be theoretically appropriated, and (2) that emphasizes the intersubjective dimension as being critical for properly assessing a balanced approach to human subjectivity. A subject-dependent perspective that can efface its own interests is the attitude that is required for the achievement of objectivity.
J.H. van den Berg was a member of the Utrecht school of phenomenology that flourished in Holland during the 1950s and early 1960s. He was a psychiatrist who had a private practice and he taught at the University of Leiden. Along with other members of the Utrecht school, not all of whom were psychiatrists, he was among the first to apply the insights drawn from existential-phenomenological philosophy to psychology and psychiatry. As with the philosophers, he emphasized that subjectivity was engaged with the world and its activities had to be described. He emphasized that insights into experience as lived, or the phenomenal level, was what was critical for psychologists to understand.
It seems that many qualitative researchers have still not contextualized the role of validity in qualitative analysis.This article enumerates three factors that must be taken into account: (1) The philosophy of science within which one works, (2) the discipline to which one belongs, and (3) the subfield of specialization that one pursues. Most researchers have encountered the question of validity within the context of empirical science, but validity does not have the same role within a phenomenological philosophy of science. Within the discipline of psychology, certain subfields ignore the validity issue for good reasons (e.g., experimentation in psychophysics) and other subfields specialize in developing strategies for validity. This article analyzes the reasons that the specialty of "test construction" focuses so strongly on validity issues and concludes that phenomenological qualitative research is not at all similar to the situation one finds in test construction. Rather, phenomenological qualitative research is closer to experimental situations and so the validity issue is not as pressing as is often supposed. The article ends with two different Husserlian perspectives on a theory of knowledge.
Having spent 40 years as a psychologist in academia with a minority perspective at odds with the culture of his profession, the author was requested to reflect upon his experiences in order to offer advice to younger colleagues of the same persuasion. There are indeed prices to be paid when one's values place one outside the established view within the discipline of psychology, but remaining true to oneself is never theless posited as the highest value. The chief drawback of marginality is the lack of the possibility of being placed within a normative university setting where the training of the next generation of scholars with similar values can take place. Basically, one encounters the resistances that sociology of knowledge factors offer rather than intrinsic resistances to the minority theoretical perspective. Five theoretical notions that met political resistance are listed and seven advisory comments are offered for young potentially marginal psychologists.