Using Case Studies to Develop Theory: Roadmap to a Dialogue
Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy
This issue's target article by William Stiles (2009) presents a general paradigm that explains how the logical operations of deduction, induction, and abduction can be applied to case-study-level observations in order to build, test, and refine applied psychology theories in areas like psychotherapy. Stiles' paradigm is exemplified in the development of his own assimilation model of psychological change across many types of successful therapy. The subsequent commentaries, written by nine
... own psychologists representing a wide diversity of perspectives and expertise, fall into three general categories. These include illustrations of the usefulness of Stiles paradigm, and critiques of the Stiles paradigm as either being insufficiently grounded in mainstream scientific method and philosophy of science, or being too grounded in traditional science and not open to new philosophical developments in the areas of moral theory, pragmatic approaches to truth, and methodical hermeneutics. Because of the richness of the issues raised here, publication of further dialogue between Stiles and the commentators is planned for 2010. _____________________________________________________________________________ Systematic case studies are a research method that can be employed for a variety of purposes. The case studies published in the PCSP journal are each grounded in a particular guiding conception, that is, a particular theoretical model, and each study spells out the ways in which that conception plays out in an individual case.