Basic Concepts And Fundamental Psychological Principles

Lay and scientific epistemics have much in common (Kruglanski, 1989a). Ordinary people and scientists share a desire for knowledge, use similar methods for acquiring knowledge, need knowledge for similar purposes, collect similar data, and use similar criteria for judging the usefulness of data. Lay and academic psychologists alike want to describe individuals and social situations in psychological terms. Both construct theories for the explanation of behavior and rules for its prediction. Both try to maximize the accuracy and simplicity of theories and predictive rules. Both compromise between accuracy and simplicity because of the inverse relation of those two qualities. Both are more sensitive to variability than to constancy. Both use the principle of replication to ascertain lawfulness and reliability. All of these commonalities are fundamental for understanding the psychological and conceptual foundations of the multimethod approach.

This chapter explains how these epistemic strategies of laypersons and scientists can be transformed into research designs and methods of data analysis. Simple everyday examples are used for illustrating the most important concepts and principles on which all multimethod approaches rest. The chapter begins with an introduction of these concepts and principles. The second part of the chapter provides a historical review of the most important milestones of multimethod thinking. The last part contains a discussion of some unresolved challenges, emerging issues, and directions in which multimethod work must proceed.

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