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Dynamic Process Methodology in the Social and Developmental Sciences

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  • © 2009


  • Covers the whole realm of the social sciences in which the analysis of dynamics of single systems is relevant – mostly in psychology, but also in sociology, anthropology, and education

  • Provides new methodology for the study of psychological and educational processes based on individual performance profiles

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About this book

All psychological processes—like biological and social ones—are dynamic. Phenomena of nature, society, and the human psyche are context bound, constantly changing, and variable. This feature of reality is often not recognized in the social sciences where we operate with averaged data and with homogeneous stereotypes, and consider our consistency to be the cornerstone of rational being. Yet we are all inconsistent in our actions within a day, or from, one day to the next, and much of such inconsistency is of positive value for our survival and development. Our inconsistent behaviors and thoughts may appear chaotic, yet there is generality within this highly variable dynamic.

The task of scientific methodologies—qualitative and quantitative—is to find out what that generality is. It is the aim of this handbook to bring into one framework various directions of construction of methodology of the dynamic processes that exist in the social sciences at the beginning of the 21st century. This handbook is set up to bring together pertinent methodological scholarship from all over the world, and equally from the quantitative and qualitative orientations to methodology. In addition to consolidating the pertinent knowledge base for the purposes of its further growth, this book serves the major educational role of bringing practitioners—students, researchers, and professionals interested in applications—the state of the art know-how about how to think about extracting evidence from single cases, and about the formal mathematical-statistical tools to use for these purposes.

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Table of contents (27 chapters)

About the authors

Jaan Valsiner, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at Clark University, where he has taught since 1997. He was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize in Germany in 1995 and is actively involved in FQS: Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung. His general interests are in the cultural organization of mental and affective processes in human development across the life span. He is also interested in psychology’s history as a resource of ideas for contemporary advancement of the discipline, and in theoretical models of human development. Currently his specific research directions include the study of young adults’ self as an autodialogic process. He is the editor of Culture and Psychology, Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, and From Past to Future. He is also the founding editor of International Journal of Idiographic Science.

Peter Molenaar, Ph.D., is Professor of Human Development at the Pennsylvania State University, where he has taught since 2005. Prior to that, he was Professor of Psychological Methodology, Mathematical Psychology and Psychometrics at the University of Amsterdam. His main interest is in the application of mathematical theories to solve substantive psychological issues.

Maria C.D.P. Lyra, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology at Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil. She received her doctoral degree in developmental psychology from the University of Sao Paulo in 1988. Her areas of research include developmental models of mother-infant communication, emergence of self in infancy, variability in mother-infant communication, and methodological issues in the study of human development.

Nandita Chaudhary, Ph.D. is a Reader in the Department of Child Development, Lady Irwin College, at the University of Delhi. Over the past 20 years, she has been involved with research, teaching, and administration in the area of child and family studies in India. In 1993, she was placed as a Fulbright Scholar in the Department of Psychology at Clark University. She is an active member of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development, the All-India Women’s Educational Fund Association, and the Indian Association for Preschool Education.

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