William James

Content Analysis & Navigating the Stream of Consciousness

An article posted on Research Design Review back in 2010 discussed the work of William James and, specifically, his concept that consciousness “flows” like a river or stream.  The article goes on to say that James’ “stream of consciousness” is relevant to researcFlowing-streamhers of every stripe because we all share in the goal of designing research “to understand the subjective links within each individual.”  Yet these subjective links come at a price, not the least of which is the “messiness” of the analysis as we work towards identifying these links and finding meaning that addresses our objectives.

Whether it is the verbatim comments from survey respondents to open-end questions or the transcripts from focus group discussions or ethnographic interviews, the researcher is faced with the daunting job of conducting a content analysis that reveals how people think while at the same time answers the research Read Full Text

Qualitative & Quantitative Research Designs: Wading into the Stream of Consciousness

William James in The Principles of Psychology (1890) talks about Five Characters in Thought.  Number three on the list is – “Within each personal consciousness, thought is sensibly continuous.”  His idea was that, although ever-changing, consciousness “does not appear to itself chopped up in bits…[or] jointed” but rather “it flows” like a river or stream.  So, what we call someone’s cognitive experience is really, what James called, a “stream of thought” or “stream of consciousness.” Read Full Text