Significance of Qualitative Methods in Clinical Psychology

Qualitative psychological research includes methods that are a combination of direct interviews with distressed patients, first-hand observation and also participant observation. Qualitative researchers more than often have a common intention to enrich their interpretations or critiques of symbols and subjective experiences or social structures through these methods. (Glaser and Strauss, 1967).

According to Guba and Lincoln (p. 106), there is an identified set of four conditions that are essential for a naturalistic inquiry when talking in terms of clinical psychology and it is these conditions that underline the criteria for trustworthiness between a psychological researcher and a patient. Now, this goes without saying that trustworthiness is a critically important issue in psychological research and the criteria for assessing trustworthiness in naturalistic inquiry especially, profoundly relies on qualitative research. The primarily important condition among the rest relates to the methods applied in the research. These are the qualitative methods that heavily depend on human senses and these are considered the most appropriate and beneficent methods for carrying out the investigation of multiple realities, worldwide. This is so because such methods are highly adaptable to mutually shaping influences and value patterns that gradually arise in clinical research. This allows open discussion among the participants and the researcher allowing them to elaborate their understandings in addition to creating a setting that enables the researcher to appreciate and grasp the verbal responses of the participants. The whole point of qualitative methods generally is to gather information through loosely-structured interviews, critical analysis of the participants’ responses as well as the scientific literature and transient observations.

Defining qualitative research, Cook and Reichardt (p. 7) stated: Qualitative research methods include ethnography, case study, in-depth interviews, and participant observation.