14 psychology discussion questions. 200 words in length each.
1. The concepts of knowledge and knowing are necessary aspects of inquiring. The classical formulation of knowledge is justified true belief. What are the difficulties applying this definition to knowledge claims in psychological research?
2. Using hypnosis research is a good example of how psychological theories can produce competing claims and lead to confusion about phenomena. How might understanding the epistemological commitments in a psychological theory be helpful in clarifying competing theories?
3. Locke’s tabula rasa argument contends that all ideas and hence all knowledge comes from experience. According to this argument, human nurturing provides one with ideas and hence knowledge of things. How can you support Locke’s argument with the idea that humans have innate abilities, such as instincts and intuition? Are these innate abilities forms of knowing? If so, is Locke’s argument valid? What are some limitations of Locke’s argument?
4. Descartes uses the terms “clear” and “distinct” to explain certain immediate perceptions. What is the difference between immediate perception of ideas and actual experience? Why are the two accounts so different?
5. Heuristic approaches about thinking involve employing rules of thumb to arrive at conclusions. These starting points are the inductive process, but deduction is also involved in reasoning on a topic. Dewey called this the “double movement of reflection.” If Dewey is correct, what are the difficulties in isolating either induction or deduction within scientific reasoning? What are the benefits? What are some alternatives that we have not yet explored?
6. A good hypothesis starts with a clear research question. What is the role of abduction in arriving at clear research questions? Are there any inherent dangers in using this approach, strategic guessing, to explore research questions for inquiry? What are the main assumptions behind abductive reasoning?
7. Although theoretically a researcher conducting a phenomenological inquiry could establish hypotheses to predict the structure and features of phenomena being explored, this approach would not follow the “bracketing” method suggested by Husserl. What are the advantages of either using hypotheses to predict phenomena or bracketing to explore such phenomena? Are these two approaches mutually exclusive? If so, why?
8. Heidegger’s concept of fallenness was appropriated by philosophical Christian theologians such as Karl Jaspers as a way of explaining the relationship between reality and our fallen condition as humans. Jaspers, in particular, implied that objectivity resulting from the scientific method could not explain all human knowing. Indeed, modern psychological inquiry into religious experience has shown that such experience may be personal by nature, not easily reduced to delineated objects of science. Does this perspective, namely, the subjective nature of personal religious experience, align well with both descriptive and interpretative approaches to phenomenology? Why or why not?
9. Discuss the difficulties in employing hermeneutics as a scientific tool. Is this approach to interpreting text and action too vague and subjective, or does its subjective starting point offer certain advantages within psychological inquiry?
10. What does Dilthey mean when he uses the metaphor “blind window”? What is Dilthey’s view of personal bias in interpreting written text?
11. Provide an operational definition of intelligence. What is the role of operational definitions within quantitative research? What are the strengths and weaknesses of operational definitions within psychology research?
12. In some quantitative studies the terms “external validity” and “generalizability” are portrayed as synonymous. In contrast, Reichardt (2011) makes the claim that external validity and generalizability should be considered distinct concepts. What is external validity? What are the merits of distinguishing between external validity and generalizability of quantitative results?
13. …What additional insights do you have on your proposed topic of educational motivation in an online platform? What is the best research approach using what you know about qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methodologies? Based on your current understanding of research methodologies, what hurdles or barriers are you going to need to address to move your research forward?
14. Historically, qualitative research has not been a primary method used to inquire within psychology. What is the value of qualitative inquiry in validating knowledge claims in psychology research?