British Journal of Clinical Psychology

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Volume 28 Issue 4 (November 1989), Pages 289-384

A phenomenon‐oriented strategy in depression research (pages 289-305)

This paper discusses the presence of important uninvestigated assumptions in every aspect of depression research. It is suggested that a general phenomenon‐oriented strategy might reduce the number of assumptions, if pursued in accordance with the requirements of natural science, which aims at maximizing the accuracy of our ideas about phenomena.

Possible consequences of this strategy are: (1) the provisional selection of single, well‐established, target and criterion variables, together with comparison variables, all suggested by special investigations and previous research results; (2) maximizing the phenomenological validity of current observation procedures, in the light of results of research into questionnaire and interview methods; (3) inclusion of hitherto neglected, but scientifically legitimate, individual‐centred, experimental and longitudinal specific strategies: the strategies of choice for the investigation of psychological processes; (4) invention of tactics to facilitate the ethically acceptable use of scientific method in investigations of clinically relevant psychological phenomena; (5) explication and eventual testing of all assumptions; (6) focus upon the understanding, prediction and control of well‐established clinically relevant phenomena, with theory playing a secondary role of facilitating systematic investigation; and (7) immediate restriction, and eventual cessation, of the use of current forms of psychiatric diagnosis in fundamental depression research.

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