ISSN 2079-6617 (Print)
ISSN 2309-9828 (Online)
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The Faculty of Psychology. Lomonosov Moscow State University.
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Melnikova O.T., Khoroshilov D.A. (2013). Subject of qualitative research as a methodological problem of social psychology. National Psychological Journal, 1(9),50–61

The basic domains of qualitative social psychological research, namely social representations, social identity, attitudes, values and ideology, collective memory, the psychology of the environment are considered. Based on the fact that the range of problems of modern social psychology is largely determined by the so-called “social cognition paradigm” the author puts forward an idea about the psychology of social cognition, i.e. everyday consciousness, its functions, values, specific features of studying. The relation between theory and method in psychological research in the context of cognitive, linguistic and historical “turn” in the history of social psychology is discussed. The definition of qualitative research in the paradigm of social cognition is given.The theory of social representations by S. Moscovici is analysed. The cases of qualitative research carried out in the paradigm of this theory, as well as studies of social identity, attitudes, values and ideology, are reviewed. A theory of discourse is outlined and the author’s own method of discourse analysis is worked out. The author also dwells on the subject of innovation in social psychology. New directions of qualitative research development related to spatial and temporal aspects of social cognition are set, that is the way of “vital” environment and the collective (social) memory.

To sum up, the conducted theoretical and methodological analysis of the subject areas of qualitative research in psychology allows us to consider the relationship of subject and method. Thus, the definition of the subject of qualitative research is the starting point of the discussion of methodological problems.

Received: 01/28/2013

Accepted: 02/12/2013

Pages: 50-61

DOI: 2079-6617/2013.0107

Keywords: qualitative research; epistemology; Social cognition; social representations theory; discourse theories; construction of reality; social identity;

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