Researching subjectivity within community mental health services: contributions of constructive-interpretative methodology

3.1 Farther reaches of theoretical and methodological explorations
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
3:00 PM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (30 minutes)
Afternoon Refreshments   03:30 PM to 03:50 PM (20 minutes)
This paper addresses some challenges in researching subjectivity within community mental health services, discussing some contributions of González Rey’s constructive-interpretative methodology. This methodology generates information not through traditional inductive/deductive inference, but through the gradual construction of hypotheses from the convergence of emergent interpretive indicators. The reflections of the researcher are fundamental in this process because they allow him/her to organise the apparently diverse indicators into a meaningful and specific set of theoretical ideas related to the studied object. This recursive process between indicators and hypotheses, together with the theoretical constructs that accompany it, forms the theoretical model of the problem on which the research focuses. I discuss methodological issues involved in a research study conducted over two years at a mental health service in the Federal District of Brazil, in which both service users and service workers were participants. Firstly, I discuss the importance of the construction of the social “scenario of research”, defined by the assumption that the fieldwork is not only based on the objectives formulated for the research, but also is a fundamental dimension of the design of the studied object. Secondly, I present part of the process of construction of information done during the research. From this perspective, the theory is not a set of a priori concepts to be applied to the “data analysis”, but an intellectual tool to help the researcher to produce a theoretical model as the result of his/her constructive process upon the information raised during the research. In this sense, this perspective opens new methodological and epistemological possibilities to legitimise a type of production of knowledge that transcends “empirical evidence” and induction, defending the theoretical nature of the production of scientific knowledge. In this trajectory, there are no gaps between empirical field and theoretical production.
University Centre of Brasília/University of Brasília
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