The Research Process in Psychobiography

The research process is important in psychobiographical research, as it is in any other qualitative study. Elms (2007) describes the process of a psychobiography as (a) Choosing the subject of research; (b) Formulating tentative hypotheses, (c) A data collection process including various forms of data collection, (d) Revision of the hypothesis, (e) Focused data collection (including similarities and/or contradictions), (f) Application of an itinerary analysis[1] - creating a hermeneutical circle (Dilthey, 1996), (g) Formulating conclusions, and (h) Further iterative research.

This research process, suggested by Elms (2007), is followed in this psychobiography on Paulo Coelho. The researcher uses various ways of data collection, analysis, interpretation and reporting, as explained in Sects. 6.8, 6.9, and 6.10. However, the research process is not followed in a purely chronological order, as described by Elms, but rather combined with the process of data collection, analysis, interpretation and reporting, in a circular and flexible order, as described in the following section.

  • [1] Itinerary analysis is understood as an anylsis which refers to the context of time, place and meaning (Puig & Morell, 1996) in an itinerative, but not always in a chronological way (Sects. 6.8, 6.9,and 6.10).
 
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