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An assisted autobiography: a qualitative method of psychological research

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posted on 2022-06-23, 04:13 authored by Edward Lukaszewski

This study was primarily concerned with the idiographic domain of psychological research and focused on the description and interpretation of one person's life story. It involved a phenomenological life-history methodology which is a qualitative style of research based upon an alternative paradigm to that traditionally used in empirical psychological research. The specific method of this study was derived from several sources, viz, the research methods of phenomenological psychology, the life history method, and the approach of the assisted autobiography. As this research method involved a model of reciprocal participation, with researcher and subject acting as co-researchers, the interpersonal transactions which occurred during the project are described in detail. The data obtained through several in-depth interviews were compiled and edited to form the subject's autobiography. This document was then analysed thematically and the interpretations were related to two areas of the literature from nomothetic research domains. The autobiography verified and illustrated previous research findings and the latter clarified aspects of the personal narrative. Several issues raised in using this methodology and style of data analysis, including questions of reliability and validity, are discussed, and a number of shortcomings of this project are acknowledged.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction - Empirical Domains and Design Strategies -- Chapter 2. Approaches in Psychological Research: A New Paradigm -- Chapter 3. Phenomenology and Phenomenological Psychology -- Chapter 4. Qualitative Research and the Life History Method -- Chapter 5. Procedure -- Chapter 6. Interviewing -- Chapter 7. Co-research and The Inter-Subjective Realm -- Chapter 8. Interpretation of the Data -- Chapter 9. Further Interpretations of the Data -- Chapter 10. Discussion -- Appendix A. Extracts from Recorded Interviews -- Appendix B. Themes based upon Julia’s Propositions -- Appendix C. Julia’s Autobiography


Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for M.A. (Counselling)

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis masters coursework


M.A. (Counselling), Macquarie University, 1985

Department, Centre or School

Faculty of Human Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Jupp, Jim


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Edward Lukaszewski 1985 This thesis was digitised for the purposes of Document Delivery. Macquarie University ResearchOnline attempted to locate the author but where this has not been possible; we are making available, open access, the thesis which may be used for the purposes of private research and study. If you have any enquiries or issues regarding this work being made available please contact Macquarie University ResearchOnline -




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