Occluded Humanistic Qualitative Research: Implications for Positive Psychology

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A reply is given to the charge made by the originators of the current positive psychology movement that humanistic psychology has not provided an adequate empirical base for its positive psychology. It is observed that although it is more about ontology, or the nature of being, than a scientific field as such, there is an extensive body of empirical qualitative research pertinent to humanistic psychology, including the positive psychology it originated. It is argued that the visibility of this research has been occluded, however, for two main reasons. The first is that humanistic qualitative research is often published in outlets not directly connectable to humanistic psychology. The second is that representatives of humanistic psychology have failed to take into account relevant returns from some qualitative research methods. The argument is supported by studies of the publication of qualitative research. A call is put out for broader surveys of humanistic qualitative research and for more publication of it in mainstream outlets. As well, an invitation is extended to positivistic positive psychologists to try their hands at qualitative research because of its reach into the meaning of human experience and action.

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