idiographic vs nomothetic


the idiographic approach

 attempts to describe the nature of the individual.

studies people as unique entities, with no intention to compare these to a larger group or norm. 

this approach is generally assosciated with methods that produce qualitative data, such as case studies and self report measures. 

often used in the humanistic approach. 

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the nomothetic approach

attempts to study human behavior through the development of general principles and universal laws. 

provides a benchmark against which people can be compared, classified and measured. - likely future behaviors can be predicted. 

typically used in experiments which involve the study of a large group of people.

- reductionist and determinist 

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