This is not so in reality. What the observers knows in reality is only what is visible or in the mind
of the observers themselves, a limited data set as we cannot see everything around us. Let us say
that we wish to know why a convicted murder has chosen the victims that they have. In a novel
we might be given a soliloquy, experiencing the process as the murderer does. We cannot do so
in reality. Emotions, thoughts, intents, and the way another human being organizes and attaches
meaning to the wider world are inconceivable to the individual who is not experiencing them
(Patton, 1990). These ways of knowing are especially important concepts for psychology. In
psychology, we hope to expand our understanding of the world around us and one of the ways in
which we do so is through qualitative interviews. Qualitative interviews allow the researcher to
gain a perspective on the world other than their own (Patton, 1990).
The perspective of others as meaningful is one of the main assumptions of qualitative
interviewing (Patton, 1990). In the case of our theoretical murderer, every data set that is
gathered by the interviewer expands our understanding of the crime and how it effects the world.
From the murderer, to potential victims, family members, and community members, the
perspectives expand our understanding by allowing us to generate insights and concepts that are
both universally shared as well as unique exceptions. It is the job of the evaluator to create a
space in which these people can provide quality information by creating a framework within
which people can respond comfortably, accurately, and honestly (Patton. 1990).
... middle of paper ...
murderer in a qualitative manner we have a greater chance of understanding the why of our
murderer’s thought processes, their feelings, their motives. What is it about our murderer’s world
schema that allows or accepts the death of another?
In this matter we would be hard pressed to use quantitative means of study as quantitative
studies measure the interaction of tangible variables (Madak, 2014). Perhaps instead we could
study the rising number of non-accidental deaths across the world and balance it against the rise
of other variables like video games, alcohol, or the fame of One Direction. While in either case
we are left without the omniscient point of view of a fictional narrator, in this matter qualitative
methods — and quantitative methods to a limited point — allow observers to gather more views
on how the world works then just their own.
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