A Method for Studying Social Representations

A Method for Studying Social Representations The current article is concerned with the presentation of a novel method for studying social representations. Social representations are a key concept within social science but, as with many other social phenomena, notoriously difficult to grasp and study in a systematic way. The survey method presented though a formal one is not dependent on pre-specified and pre-graded answers as most questionnaires do. Instead it creatively utilizes the elicitation and elaboration of free associations on a given topic in order to shed light on the semantic field and cognitive organization of a given social representation. As a necessary complement to such a methodological exposition the article also presents some of the theoretical background that informs the method as well as the tradition of studying social representations in general. In the course of the article a research design for the method is presented accompanied by a complete script of the survey instrument. This is followed by a discussion of the merits of the method as well as some suggestions of analytical approaches that can be applied to the results. The article concludes with a short discussion of potential areas of application beyond the field of social representations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality & Quantity Springer Journals

A Method for Studying Social Representations

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Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright © 2006 by Springer
Social Sciences; Methodology of the Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general
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