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Anomalous Experience and Qualitative Research: An Introduction to the Special Issue

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Qualitative Research in Psychology
Issue number1
Volume7
Number of pages4
Pages (from-to)1-4
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The authors provide an introduction to the articles and commentaries which comprise the special issue on anomalous experience and qualitative research. It is argued that within psychology there have been two broad responses to reports of paranormal experiences: laboratory-based parapsychological studies and studies which seek to identify the determining factors that lead people to believe that they have experienced paranormal phenomena. However, recently an alternative perspective has developed in which the analytic goal is not to explain away or corroborate participants' claims or experiences but to understand in more detail their significance as psychological, social, and cultural events. The articles which comprise this special issue contribute to this development. They all begin from the assumption that anomalous experiences are fundamentally meaningful events, symbolically mediated through language and communication, which are inextricably enmeshed in the fabric of interpersonal actions in social settings, and reflect their broader historical and cultural context. What also unites these articles is that they show how the qualitative analysis of events or experiences can contribute to our understanding of fundamental psychological and social psychological processes.