4 Conclusion

This unit has explored the social impact of psychology and provided a brief historical overview to explore the diversity of psychology as a discipline. You have read about the different kinds of data that are used as evidence and the different types of methods used to gather these data. You have also gained an understanding of the ethical issues that need to be considered when conducting research.

The material for this unit is taken from the introductory chapter to the course DSE212
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

3.8 Summary

  • Because the subject matter of psychology (ourselves and non-human animals) is complex and reactive, psychologists have to choose from amongst a wide range of methods.

  • Psychologists make use of methods that aim to maximise objectivity; they also use methods that focus on and explore subjectivities and meanings.

  • Depending on the topic they are researching, psychologists can choose to adopt an outsider viewpoint or an insider
    Author(s): No creator set

    License information
    Related content

    Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

3.7 Ethical considerations

Since psychological research is mostly done on people and animals, it is often the case that the observations or experimental interventions that a psychologist might want to make have the potential to harm participants and hence raise ethical issues. Furthermore, consequences that might not be directly undesirable for the participants might raise more general ethical principles to do with moral standards and values. Psychologists have increasingly become aware of ethical issues and recognised
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

3.6 Different paradigms and different methods

These different methods alert us to the fact that psychology is not just one enterprise, but a series of interlocking enterprises in which psychologists have different views about the best ways to try to understand or explain people and their behaviour and experience. These are arguments about epistemology; that is, what questions to ask, what sort of evidence to look for, what sort of criteria to use to evaluate explanations, and what sort of methods to use.

All knowledge and al
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

3.4 Observations

Observations are the most direct method of getting information about people's behaviour. In everyday life we all frequently observe other people. Psychologists have devised a range of methods for systematically observing other people. These range from participant observation through to highly structured and targeted observations. In participant observation, the researcher is part of what is being observed and writes up notes whenever possible. Sometimes these notes include an insider v
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

3.3 Psychological tests

The most commonly used psychological tests, such as intelligence tests and personality tests, are highly structured forms of self-report where participants have to solve problems or choose from fixed alternatives on a questionnaire. Researchers then work out a score for each participant that gives information about their intelligence or personality. These tests are different from ordinary questionnaires in the way they are constructed and pre-tested. They are tried out on large numbers
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

1.2 Boundaries between mental health and illness

Activity 1: What is mental ‘health’?

0 hours 20 minutes

What do you think it means if someone is described as ‘mentally healthy’? Think of all the different ways of descr
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

3.2 Questionnaires and interviews

If we are interested in what people think or feel, or in behaviours that are difficult to observe in humans, we need to ask people about themselves. This is a variant on introspection, in that researchers are not looking inside themselves but are using the best possible means to obtain other people's introspections. Psychologists do this through both questionnaires and interviews. Many of you will have filled in questionnaires from market researchers on the street or at home. Questi
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • distinguish between mental health and mental illness;

  • give examples of how community resource centres can benefit the well being of individuals and communities in terms of mental health.

Introduction

This unit explores a number of issues relating to mental health practice. It starts by helping you define and understand the difference between mental health and mental illness. It also explores the discrimination that can arise when people experience some form of mental distress. You will look at how professionals working within the community can counter some of the effects of discrimination and stigma and contribute to the well-being of the wider community, as well as those who use their se
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

3.1 The beginning of the research process

What distinguishes psychological research from common sense is that psychologists approach information and knowledge in a systematic and consciously articulated way. They use rules and procedures about how to build and apply theories, how to design studies to test hypotheses, how to collect data and use them as evidence, and how to evaluate all forms of knowledge. (See Figure 1, ‘The cycle of enquiry’ in Box 1
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

2.1 An evidence-based enterprise

We have seen that psychology is an evidence-based enterprise and we have also seen that disputes about what should count as evidence have had an important impact on the development of psychology as a discipline. For example, the rise of behaviourism was driven by the idea that only observable behaviour is legitimate data for psychology because only data that can be observed by others, and agreed upon, can be objective. Many other disciplines have had less trouble with this issue
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

Edgar de Santo
This unit is designed to develop your knowledge and understanding of Spanish-speaking societies and cultures and extend the practical skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. You will examine the world of Spanish and Latin-American art and explore the difference between art and craft.
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see http://www.open.ac.uk/conditions terms and conditions), this content is made available under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2

Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under licence.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

Text

Reading 1: Perkins, R. (1999) ‘Madness, distress and the language of inclusion, Openmind, Vol 98, Jul/Aug 1999, © 1999 Mind (National Association for Mental Health).

Reading 2: Rose,
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

References

Extract 1
Baxter, C., Poonia, K., Ward, L. and Nadirshaw, Z. (1990) Double Discrimination: Issues and Services for People with Learning Difficulties from Black and Minority Ethnic Communities, London, King’s Fund Centre.
Bentall, R.P. (1992) ‘A proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder’, Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 18, pp.
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

6.3 What size of majority vote should decide the issue?

In many types of democratic vote, a bare majority (technically, 50 per cent +1) is enough to decide outcomes. But often constitutional changes – changes which would affect the basic structures or political rules of the game – are regarded as needing ‘supermajorities’ of, say, 60 or 70 per cent. A basic change in the sovereign political unit would certainly count as a constitutional change. If the Bs get to vote, we might be concerned if only a bare majority favoured secession, es
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

6.1 When is secession justified?

By valuing a group positively and seeking self-determination for it, nationalists often set out to redraw maps, to create new countries or to reinstate old ones. It is rare for this to occur without (often violent) conflict. Can political theorists offer guides to dealing peacefully with such disputes?

One question which political theorists have focused on has been that of secession. Secession as an issue carries with it most of the dilemmas associated with nations and nationalism, and
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

5.5 ‘A sense of belonging and membership in which sentiment and emotion play an important rol

Nationalism is about land or territory and what it means to people. Nationalists make claims to the centrality of certain tracts of land to them, to their people, to their collective history, traditions, cultures and sufferings:

When a hundred thousand nationalists march down Sherbrooke Street [in Montreal] chanting ‘Le Quebec aux Quebecois’, they are not just talking about the establishment of a public la
Author(s): No creator set

License information
Related content

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

5.4 ‘The desire to give politico-institutional expression to the first two core concepts

There is a strong case for regarding the third element in the ‘core structure’ of nationalism as the key one. Generally, as we have seen, nationalists want their nation to have a state, or statehood. But political self-determination might have other outlets.

From the comparatively ‘soft’ demands to harder and less compromising ones, the spectrum might consist of some form of:

  • recognition of the cultural distinctiveness
    Author(s): No creator set

    License information
    Related content

    Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University