Comments

APA Citation: Wertz, F. J. (1987). Meaning and research methodology: Psychoanalysis as a human science. Methods: A Journal for the Human Sciences, 1(2), 91-135.

Disciplines

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

One of the most pressing questions for contemporary psychology is that of what research method will best provide access to the truly human. The protest that psychology has failed to provide such an access has held together diverse strains of "humanistic" psychology for three decades. Recently, the revolutionary character of a positive alternative to traditional research methodology has been highlighted. Polkinghorne (1982) defines humanistic research as that which "addresses questions raised by considering people as agents who can act in a purposeful and meaningful manner, " (p. 47), and Georgi (1987) adds, "once one gets to the meaning of 'purpose' or the 'meaning of meaning,' in depth, one might find that radically different steps (from those of the logical-empirical approach) might have to be taken in order to do justice to the human way of living those attributes" (pg. 16). The present paper is an attempt to show how Sigmund Freud, in his quest to know human meaning, responded to the demands of the phenomenon and employed such radically different steps which, in their fundamental principles, may be viewed as genuinely scientific.