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Discuss the Use of the Scientific Approach in Psychology. Refer to at Least One Topic in Your Answer (12 Marks)

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By tl1997
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In order for psychology to be considered as a science, the true meaning of a science needs to be considered. It is widely believed that for a subject to be a science, it must have the following; a common agreement of the subject matter that is being studied; theories constructed from hypotheses; empirical, objective methods of data collection and general laws.

A paradigm is “a set of theoretical assumptions that are agreed upon by scientists which provide a means of making sense of the world in which we live”. This is according to Kuhn who is a philosopher in science who stated that to be a science there must be a unified and agreed upon subject matter. This should consist of three main factors; a set of theoretical assumptions that provide a model of the subject matter; a set of metaphors that compare the subject matter in a simple and understandable way and a set of methods for empirical enquiry that are agreed upon by scientists working within the paradigm. Physics, for example, meets the criteria of a paradigm because forces are measured using laboratory experiments in the simplest of ways.

Kuhn believed that there were three stages to developing a paradigm. The first stage is a pre-science where there is no common understanding of the subject criteria, or there are too many different approaches, with too many alternative research methods. The next stage is a normal science where there is a unified set of beliefs and values which are commonly agreed on by all and researchers decide on what to research. The final stage of developing a paradigm is revolution which is a set paradigm that has experience paradigm shifts meaning that the focus of research has changed direction. In Kuhn’s opinion, psychology was a pre-science due to there not being one unifying theory of what psychology is about. Instead there are several different approaches, all of which...

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