When quantitative measures become a qualitative storybook: A phenomenological case analysis of validity and performativity of questionnaire administration in psychotherapy research

Femke L. Truijens*, Mattias Desmet, Eva De Coster, Horanka Uyttenhove, Bram Deeren, Reitske Meganck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

In psychotherapy research, treatment efficacy is commonly studied by means of self-report questionnaires to gain quantitative data on symptom development. The data serve as input for statistical analyses up to the level of evidence-based treatment. We analyzed how a patient in a psychotherapy study experienced the translation of her story into quantitative data by combining a phenomenological qualitative analysis of her therapeutic narrative and a visual analysis of her extensively annotated paper-and-pencil questionnaires. Our findings provide a practical empirical illustration of the nature and impact of known validity issues. Beyond, we found the act of questionnaire administration affected the primary complaint such that it became performative toward the symptoms under study. We discuss the epistemic consequences for the validity of data, and we argue that valid data collection requires qualitative scrutiny of meaning within data and a concept of validity that allows for consideration of performativity of data collection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-287
Number of pages44
JournalQualitative Research in Psychology
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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© 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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