Freud did it. Maslow did it. Even Wilhelm Wundt did it.
All three seminal figures were passionate about qualitative analysis, forming their groundbreaking theories not through the vaunted randomized controlled trial, but by gathering in-depth insights and perspectives from people.
Now, a new APA journal is dedicated to this type of analysis: Qualitative Psychology will become the flagship journal of the Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology, a section of APA's Div. 5 (Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics). The journal — which will be published twice in 2014 and quarterly thereafter — debuts in January.
"The journal is something that [psychologists who conduct qualitative research] have wanted for a long time," says incoming editor Ruthellen Josselson, PhD, a professor of clinical psychology at Fielding Graduate University and author of the 2013 book "Interviewing for Qualitative Inquiry: A Relational Approach." "We're thrilled it is now part of APA, and is therefore officially on the menu of the kinds of research approaches that constitute the work of psychology."
Josselson has a broad vision for the journal. To her, any content area of psychology is fair game, as long as it uses or develops new qualitative modes of inquiry. In addition to individual papers, each issue will have a special section featuring several different types of analysis on a particular content area, whether it's memory, gay and lesbian identity, or the immigration experience.
Josselson also is looking for work that advances the understanding of qualitative inquiry in concept and approach. She strongly encourages papers and special section proposals across a range of methods and approaches. Some of these include narrative analysis, discourse analysis, ethnographic approaches, individual case studies and action research.
"We want submissions to be creative and original, so our criteria are general rather than specific," she says.
Josselson is excited to be at the helm of a journal that promises to draw much-needed attention to the qualitative approach.
"The social science climate is becoming not only more receptive to qualitative inquiry, but is even starting to seek it out because it is contextualized, it is complex, and it can reveal things about people that are difficult if not impossible to get at in other ways."
To submit a manuscript, visit the journal's online submissions portal.
Tori DeAngelis is a writer in Syracuse, N.Y.
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