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Problems of Research Methodology in Field of Psychology

Before going into the argument of the legitimacy of psychological research it is inevitable to define the word “psychology” itself. Psychology can be defined as the study of human mind and behaviour. In the definition mentioned above term “human mind” has been used. According to world’s population there are around 7 billion humans on planet, so are the minds. However each mind possesses a whole universe of its own so does it means that psychology is trying to make sense of the 7 billion universes in the world? And on what extent the field is contributing to the wellness and development of society? The legitimacy of psychological research will be discussed in this essay.

Psychology as a subject evolved in Germany in 18th century and by early 19t century until now the hub of the psychology is USA. 95% of the psychological researches are being made in the western context in general and in North American context in specific. Moreover in most researches the samples were based on the students of the university who were awarded a credit for their participation. In this scenario it is almost impossible that the studies being conduct will be legitimate because of two main flaws. One major problem is that those studies used mainly students as a sample. However humans have different roles and jobs along with study. Results can be different if the similar studies will be conducted on the other members of the community.

Other main problem with those researches is the context in which they are conducted. Influence of culture on the human experience and development of human mind has been accepted. However the majority of psychological studies are being conduct in the American context. Will they be able to replicate their results in other cultures as well, let’s say in Far East? According to recently done cross cultural studies it had shown that there are differences in the behavioural approaches and mind experiences across cultures, and the factors that are being considered universal until now might not be the universal but restricted to the specific society.

One main example is the self-esteem. It has been considered that self -esteem is a universal phenomenon and humans want to hear their praise to boost their self-esteem. However the studies conducted in Japan on the Japanese sample showed that there is another dimension of modesty and critical evaluation as an important factor in the Japanese society as compare to the boasting about oneself to increase the self-esteem.

In conclusion it can be proposed that the studies being conducted in psychology lack the validity and reliability. However the situation is getting better along with time. The cross cultures studies are being conducted recently in the field of psychology. In addition, the diverse samples are being used to find out the underlying causes of a specific behaviour. Although there are lot of problems in the research methodology being used in psychology, field itself is quite helpful in a sense that it brings insight in the people and make them able to understand themselves in general and their strengths and weaknesses in specific in a better way.

Education as an approach

Before defining the “purpose of education” first comes the definition of education. Actually it’s the definition of education itself which leads to its purpose. Definition of education lies in the cognitive approach of people living around the world. It can be different in different cultures and settings. However, there are two main ways usually people think about it.

First and vastly accepted approach towards education is the possession of degree for the sake of better job chances and status in society. There are plenty of examples that will replicate this approach towards education. Even in our school settings if we conduct a survey about education we will get a huge proportion of answers that will be based on the significance of degree in job hunting as well as in securing safe future. Actually this thinking approach towards education is deeply constructed in the social and cultural norms in the society.

Moreover, the status of good education and education schools is completely based on the “numbers” and “alphabets”. For example, the most important factor considered in a university’s ranking is the “number” of published papers in different journals. Here “number” of published papers is directly proportional to the ranking of university. As for “Alphabets” grades play their role in class settings. Grades are the standard to judge one’s accomplishment in a class. There is a scale from “A” to “F” which represents the student’s education and accomplishment. However most of the students study for this “A” rather than for the sake of learning, in result they forget everything right after their final exam.

Second approach towards education is not widely practiced around the world and that approach is to seek education for the sake of education. In this approach primary goal of the education seeker is not to get hold on a degree or to get jobs or so and forth. His primary goal is to learn and to vast his understanding and knowledge through education. Grades and degrees are just the by products for them which will come in a good along with their knowledge. If we compare both of these approaches we will see that the present education is majorly based on the first approach and most of the schools are working like factories to produce similar kind of products. After observing this situation, we can say that education’s quality has been decreased quite a bit recently.

This all represents the state of mind we possess today. We are being raised in this environment to believe in education as a source of money and status. This has become a cultural norm, to be more precisely a universal norm. If we have to know what really the education is then first, we have to fight with our own thoughts related to education which are being implanted in us through environment. We need to revise our basics and to re think about our concepts of education. Although it’s easy to say this but it’s quite hard to implement it.

Classification of Beliefs

To understand that why we believe in dumb things, the first step is to understand belief itself. To do so we have to consider the classification system of beliefs. After a solid understanding of classification we will be able to know that why we believe in dumb things. There are two ways we can classify the beliefs. One classification is the ways of developing certain beliefs and second classification is based on the ecological level of society. In the following paragraphs I will explain beliefs on the basis of these two classifications.
Beliefs can be developed in two ways. The first way which is most common around the world is to believe something without questioning. We follow this approach mainly because of our parents and people around us in our childhood. For example if a child is born in a specific religious family he or she will believe all the things about that religion without questioning its authenticity. This happens because parents or people around that child also believe that whatever they are teaching to their children is right even though they don’t know the validity of their own belief. Most of the times parents learn about that belief from their parents and this chain continue from parents to children and no one bothers to think for a second that what we are believe in make sense or not. For them most of the times it is quite difficult to criticize or deeply analyse their own beliefs. Moreover they possess less tolerance towards beliefs other than their own.
Second way of believing in something is the use of mind. Humans have got the brain and sense of curiosity as a blessing. For those who follow this way always question the authenticity of the belief before believing. They do not accept something because someone told them that it’s good to have certain belief. They listen to different opinions, analyse them, check their authenticity and then make them part of their life. Moreover it is never hard for them to change their beliefs because they are open to listen and possess high tolerance towards their beliefs.
Furthermore beliefs can be classified on the ecological level. There are mainly two types in this classification as well. First one is the self-belief or individual belief; second one is the communal belief. Communal belief can be defined as the sum of self believes in a certain community. Although there is a possibility of differences in self-beliefs in a specific community, however these differences usually are not strong enough to affect or change the communal belief which is already established in a society. Extent of this change is different across different cultures. For example in East Asian society which holds the collectivist culture, it’s quite hard to go against the cultural norms or beliefs which are already established in the society. However in America as a multicultural society there is a room for all sorts of beliefs and to follow them.
In short, beliefs are one of the most important things which define our personality. Our actions are the reflection of what we believe. believes are the important part of humans however to develop a certain belief it is important to think in an open way and listen to other’s points as well. If we will be able to do so I hope we won’t believe in dumb things that easily.

Different Laws for Different Societies

Humans are different from one another. They are divided in different tribes and nations across the world and follow their own ideologies of life. Sometimes these different ideologies of life clashes with each other and one major ideology comes into power that affects other ideologies. Laws are the basic part of one’s ideology and one has a right to define what is lawful and unlawful for themselves as far as it doesn’t hurt other’s freedom or ideology. In following essay we will see that how implementing same laws in different societies and ideologies lead towards violence and unrest.

A survey was conducted in Pakistan in April 2013 by BBC in which more than half of 5,000 18-29 year-old Pakistanis polled said democracy had not been good for them or the country.[1] They preferred Sharia laws or Military rule over democracy. This survey represents that people of Pakistan are not so happy with the democratic government they have. They want to live their lives according to their own ideologies preferably derived from Sharia laws or military rule. However the reality is that there is democracy in country and some of the militant groups wanted and even tried to implement sharia laws in the country which causes a huge unrest on individual level as well as on national level.

USA always opposed the establishment of Sharia laws in any country in world included Pakistan. The main reason behind that is that Sharia laws are quite strict and violate basic human rights of people.[2] Here a question arises in mind that if people of a specific country or place want to live according to their own rules and definition of human rights then what is wrong in it?  Why they must follow the laws defined by different ideologies and definitions of human rights? Here someone might suggest that may be ‘natives’ are oppressed and do not know what they want. Well it is true there are several societies in which people are oppressed and have ignorance. However rather than ‘enlightening’ them on certain specific ideology, it will be better to give them different ideologies to choose from and let them decide to choose without any manipulation whatsoever.

Establishment of system means establishment of laws in a society. Recently all over the world most of the unrest is because of imposing one law’s on others and thinking that we are always right and it’s our responsibility to tell other people that they are wrong. This mainly happens when one ideology feels the threat from other ideology that it will change it or take its place. We have a real example of this in present world in the case of IS and Al Qaeeda in one hand and US, western ideology on other hand. Problem arises when one try to impose its own laws on others which think different but does it mean that if they are different then they are wrong?  Same goes for IS and US in this scenario. Both want to impose their own ideologies and laws to others regardless of what others believe or think or even want.

To solve this problem there is only one way to let others define what is good and bad for them including laws rather than imposing our own definition of good and bad on them. And all of this must happens with the condition of not affecting one’s ideology. For example in Britain there is a proposal for establishment of Sharia courts for Muslims there. This will be a good approach to have a diversified and multicultural society with mutual respect and understanding. And this suggestion is not confined only for western societies, same goes for the religious societies in general.

[1] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-22001263

[2] http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/01/world/asia/brunei-sharia-law/

Freedom an Illusion?

Freedom is considered as one of the basic human rights in the society. However the concept of “Freedom” itself is not that clear. For some the freedom is to follow one’s own desires and motives and for others it is to conform the social and cultural norms. However in my opinion freedom is an illusion which keeps the person in a state where he or she feels that they are free however in reality they are not free. And if they will try to go out from that illusion to be free they will get resistance from the “freedom of illusion” that is being wrapped on them by the societal power.

Since the development of human civilizations different social and political systems had been developed into the society. However in most cases these systems cannot run side by side because their values, norms and definitions of different concepts are quite different from each other. So all these systems either try to change the other systems or try to resist the change among them proposed by other systems. So in competition of these systems and values one system wins and then remaining systems either have to follow the main system or modify their values until some extent so that they can move in society as well.

When a political or social system comes into a power the rest of the world have no other choice but to follow the values, concepts and philosophies of that system because they cannot progress in the society if they will not follow the system in power. But it doesn’t mean that their own ideologies or philosophies are wrong. May be they are better than the system in power but they have to follow the one in power. So they are free until they are following the definition of freedom devised by the system in power. The moment they will try to follow their own ideology or system they will get resistance from the main system.

This resistance happens because system in power doesn’t want to give a chance to any other system to come even close to its own status. So in most cases the system in power pushes its own values to other systems and shows that how other system’s values are degradable and not good for the society. And as majority follows the main system so the world accepts everything it says and do not analyze deeply or think critically about it. They think that they are free however in reality they are being used by the main system and are wrapped in the illusion of freedom.

In short different ideologies have been evolved and will be still evolving until the mankind exists. The main concern is that before conforming to any system’s values or following any certain ideology it is quite important to compare and analyze the different systems critically and then follow a certain system. After an unbiased evaluation of different systems it does not matter one follows the main system in power or the smaller systems which are opposite to the main system.