The academic article titled “Evidence” by Roger Sapsford is a relatively concise piece of writing that would perfectly fit into a great variety of textbooks due to its wide-ranging subject-matter, and due to the significance of the issues discussed in it for most, if not…
In this light, the article by Sapsford is introductory in its essence, or, alternatively, recapitulative, if a reader is aiming to find a starting point in tackling tasks that seem to defy easy methodological approaches to them. In this role, the writing by Sapsford is very adequate as the author manages to consequently present the general overview of conventional divisions of methods applicable in social psychology, such as divisions exemplified by oppositions between naturalistic and controlled, structured and unstructured, and specific and generalizable types of experiments and approaches to the data analysis (Sapsford 1996, p. 146). With this general but very instructive distinction in mind, the author devotes an extended attention to the exploration of the division of methods of social research on the ones inspired by ‘scientific’ and ‘qualitative’ approaches. ‘Scientific’ research, according to Sapsford, is characterised by the observance of the rules of “clear measurement and logical design” (Sapsford 1996, p. 147), which in practice means adherence to the formalised ways of data gathering and analysis, such as questionnaires, creation of personality inventories, organisation of control groups, etc. Perhaps even more insightful is the association by the author of the ‘scientific’ research with the underlying assumption of researches that the objective knowledge is out there in the world, and that their task is to find ways to obtain that knowledge. In its turn, the philosophy behind the ‘qualitative’ research is based on the assumption that it is too often the case that straightforward approaches akin to those of the ‘scientific’ research may miss the true complexity of the real world, can fall a victim to the subjectivity of researchers, and, moreover, may influence, even though inadvertently, the object of ...
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