This essay will compare and contrast idiographic and nomothetic approaches to Psychological research. It will explain the aim of each approach with specific reference to their relative strength and weaknesses for understanding personality.
What is personality?
Personality is what makes us act at the specific situation and it shows that who we truly are. It is all about our thoughts, feelings, traits, qualities and behaviors which makes us unique (different from others). In addition to this, personality arises from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life. It also concerns the most important, most noticeable parts of an individual's psychological life. There are two personality traits. When researchers wants to find out whether all traits exist in all people they look at two different views which are idiographic and nomothetic approach.
Idiographic is the complete study of an individual as a basis for understanding human behavior in general. In a simple definition, we can say Idiographic is the study of individual in depth. These studies are well suited to situation where a deep understanding of the individual person is required. Idiographic approach help researchers to understand individual behavior more specific. We study personality to predict behavior. The idiographic approach also stresses the study of the whole personality. In Idiographic approach, the researcher will look at only one person and as the research is more specific on individual the result will come up with a more specific data about the individual.
In nomothetic Approach the researchers investigate or work on a large group of people. So they work generalize. The nomothetic approach to personality agrees that personality can be categorized on the basis of those traits that we share. Thus nomothetic personality theorists such as Hans Eysenck talk about extravert, introvert, stable, and unstable (neurotic) personality...