Are non-scientific methods research methods meaningless?
Psychology has many approaches, some of which use scientific methods (biological) and some which use various other research methods (psychodynamic). Psychology is the science of behaviour and mental processes, so are the methods useless if they do not have a scientific basis behind them? This also looks into the idea of whether psychology is a science.
Freud used many non scientific methods in his research; this includes his theory of consciousness and his dream theory. Freud thought that dreams were representative of unconscious desires, thoughts and motivations. We don’t consciously express these thoughts but Freud suggested that they find their way into our awareness via dreams. The problem with this theory is that dreams can not be scientifically measured and some people would argue that this makes the method less valid. Many forms of therapy make use of client’s dreams but the Freudian interpretations of dreams often have the tendency to relate back to sexual meanings. Also you cannot measure someone’s unconscious mind but it still made up a big part of Freud’s theory. However, many psychologists disagreed with his theory and instead use more scientific methods, for example Skinner’s behaviourist methods. Freud’s method can be criticised as it has been accused of only explaining behaviour after the event has happened, rather than predicting what will happen in advance, which is what scientific methods aim to do.
I think that although non scientific methods can be useful, scientific methods are more reliable and accurate. For example, lab experiments are highly scientific and you can replicate the findings and control the variables making the method much more valid. The scientific method looks at empirical evidence which means it does not rely on argument or beliefs. The behaviourism approach is regarded as scientific and it has parsimonious theories of learning and uses only a few simple principles to explain a vast amount of behaviour.
To conclude, I think that both methods have their strengths and weaknesses. Psychology is the study of behaviour but behaviour changes over time and it depends on the situation too. These factors and individual differences make research findings reliable for a limited time so it could be said that both scientific and non scientific methods become meaningless eventually anyway.