Social Normativity of Research Methods and the Methodological Discrepancy between Mainstream Psychological Research and Danish Psychology Students’ Master’s Thesis Projects

Thomas Szulevicz*, Peter Clement Lund, Rolf Lyneborg Lund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper, we take a closer look at Danish psychology students’ Master’s thesis projects. We do this by analysing 4,100 descriptions of all Master’s theses in Danish psychology study programs between 2014 and 2019. Via a sentiment analysis of the data material, we identify and categorize the different theses and attempt to identify their methodological focus. Initially, we describe the characteristics of the Danish Master’s thesis and discuss why an analysis of different theoretical and methodological orientations within the theses is relevant. The results we draw out in this article point to what we term a methodological discrepancy between psychological research published in journals and Danish psychology students’ Master’s thesis projects. The sentiment analysis also shows that Danish Master’s theses in many cases refer to one or more specific (meta)theoretical orientations in their problem statements. The paper discusses whether students’ (meta)theoretical orientation(s) can be interpreted as a sign of sound theoretical literacy among students or, conversely, if theory rather is applied in a routine-like manner in Master’s thesis projects. It is further discussed whether the methodological discrepancy is seen because of the more intuitive nature of qualitative methods, or if it caused by what could be termed a dustbowl (qualitative) empiricism. The article is concluded with a discussion on the social normativity of psychological research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIntegrative Psychological and Behavioral Science
Volume56
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)863-878
Number of pages16
ISSN1932-4502
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • Dissertation
  • Methodology
  • Normativity
  • Research methods
  • Theoretical Orientation

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