Methodological Approaches to the Study of Career

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This volume addresses a wide range of methodological approaches to the study of career with particular emphasis on alternative approaches. The contributors challenge those who see the traditional positivist empirical methodology as the only appropriate methodology with which to address important career questions and issues, arguing instead that the subject of career can best be studied within a number of disciplines, and using a variety of methodologies. Among the alternative methodologies explored by the contributors and employed in studies reported in this volume are those based on contextual/systems research, human action inquiry, and phenomenological/hermeneutical research. These alternatives, the contributors assert, are more responsive to human experience and social issues and are, therefore, often more viable for the study of career and career-related issues than is the positivist approach. Researchers in educational psychology, counseling psychology, and human resources will find this book an important contribution to the professional literature.

Divided into three parts, the volume begins by identifying a number of specific questions—involving terminology, assessment, samples, culture, and outcomes—that contribute to the complexity of career research. Part two contains seven chapters, each of which addresses a generic research approach relevant to research in the career area. Both epistemological issues and the specifics of methods and techniques are addressed in these chapters. Among the approaches covered are Vondracek's developmental-contextual approach to career development research, narrative approaches, and the use of ethnography in career education studies. In the third section, the contributors use a range of methodologies to address appropriate topics in the career field, including the impact of parental influence on career choice, the problem of unemployment, midlife career change, and women's career development.

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Editorial Reviews

Papers presented at a research workshop held at the U. of British Columbia, September 1988. They're grouped into three sections addressing broad research issues, overviews from the perspective of specific methodologies, and the use of a range of methodologies in research programs and studies, among them, work on parental influences on career development, seeking and coping with unemployment, mid-life career change, how social policy and feminism affect the study of careers, and occupational strees theory and women's careers. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275932992
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/15/1990
  • Pages: 286
  • Lexile: 1350L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

RICHARD A. YOUNG is Associate Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia.

WILLIAM A. BORGEN is Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia.

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Table of Contents

Introduction by Richard A. Young and William A. Borgen

Issues in Career Research by Edwin L. Herr

Methodological Approaches

Supplementing Differential Research in Vocational Psychology Using Nontraditional Methods by Arnold R. Spokane

A Developmental-Contextual Approach to Career Development Research by Fred W. Vondracek

Biographical-Hermeneutical Approaches to the Study of Career Development by Charles Bujold

Narrative as a Paradigm for Career Research by Larry R. Cochran

Action Theory Approaches to Career Research by Donald R. Polkinghorne

A Theory of Goal-directed Action in Career Analysis by Ladislav Valach

Field Research and Career Education by Donald Fisher

Career Research Studies

Parental Influences on Career Development: A Research Perspective by Richard A. Young and John D. Friesen

Help Seeking and Coping with Unemployment by Thomas Kieselbach

New Challenges for Career Development: Methodological Implications by William A. Borgen and Norman E. Amundson

Mid-life Career Change Research by Audrey Collin

The Politics of Methodological Decisions: How Social Policy and Feminism Affect the Study of Careers by Jane Gaskell

A Structural Model Approach to Occupational Stress Theory and Women's Careers by Bonita C. Long and Sharon E. Kahn

Selected Bibliography

Name Index

Subject Index

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