Clinical Research Methods

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSHS3038362

Semester and Year Offered: 4th Semester, 2nd year

Course Coordinator and Team: Honey Oberoi Vahali

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: Working knowledge of Qualitative Research

Aim: The course aims to focus on clinical research methods, especially, the case study and life history approach.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Acquisition of knowledge of qualitatively oriented, in depth, ideographic approaches to clinical and psychosocial research, such as clinical case studies, life histories, life writing, autobiographies, biographies, auto-ethnographies and culturally sensitive narratives.
  2. Learning to apprehend the nuances of human subjectivity in research contexts.
  3. Learning the art and science of how a researchers listens to affects and rhythms through which voice; subjectivity and selfhood acquire form in relationally oriented research paradigms.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

This course is guided by a clinical and psychosocial orientation, one which fosters the imagination of an engaged researcher working with a relational, self-reflexive and transformative potential. A stress on clinical psychoanalytic and experience-near ways of working with human beings in research contexts will be highlighted. A working knowledge of transference and counter transference in research contexts will highlight the relational quality of the research process.

A stress on forgotten and neglected narratives of human life, especially those weighed down by political and social marginalization will find a place in the curriculum. It will be the aim of facilitator to help MPhil trainees/ candidates to think of their research topics in a self-reflexive manner and to appreciate the import of the same in their personal/autobiographical context.

  1. Issues related to Self, Other and Research; nature of reality, relationship between researcher and researched, questions of power- who writes, who is written about, how is the other represented, to whom does the research belong? Has the participant a voice of her own? Stressing on Mutuality and rethinking power in research.
  2. Research as an evolving field of processual knowledge. Research as a creative, engaged, dynamic, contextual, empathetic and involved process
  3. Thinking of research questions, focusing on Method, Methodology, Process, sources of data, styles of writing and representing human narratives. The storied nature of the self.
  4. Psychoanalytic emphasis: Clinical case study method, life history method; life history, autobiography, narrative based research and learning the art of writing biographies.
  5. Auto-ethnography and reflexivity in psychodynamic research; working with preconceptions, protoideas, preconscious material.
  6. Focusing on Unconscious and relational processes in research work
  7. Ethics and philosophical considerations in clinical research

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Written assessment- 40%
  • Group presentations -20%
  • Writing a reflective journal on issues in research- 10%
  • Methodological review of a clinical case study/ life history- 30%

Reading List:

  1. Erikson, E, H. (1968). Life History and the Historical Moment. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.
  2. Erikson, E.H., (1971), Gandhi’s Truth: The origins of Militant Non-violence. New York: W.W Norton & Company.
  3. Erikson, E.H., (1973) Young Man Luther. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.
  4. Greenspan. H (1998). On listening to Holocaust Survivors. Westport: Praeger Publishers.
  5. Guru, G. (2009) Humiliation. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  6. Karlekar Malavika (2004). “Search for Women’s Voices: Reflections from Fieldwork”, 1968-93 in Srivastava, V.K. (ed.) Methodology and Fieldwork. New Delhi: Oxford. 371-388.
  7. Laub, Dori (1992) ‘Bearing Witness or the Vicissitudes of Listening’ in Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub, Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History.New York and London: Routledge.
  8. Lifton, R. J. (2001)“Is there a place for death in psychological research”. International Journal of group Tensions, 31 (2/4).
  9. Lifton, R.J. (1969). Death In Life: Survivors of Hiroshima. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
  10. Rich, Adrienne (1984) Of Woman Born. New York: W.W. Norton and Company
  11. Selected essays from Two birds and a crow- Alan Dudes
  12. Srivastava, V.K. (2004). Methodology and Fieldwork (ed). New Delhi: Oxford University Press
  13. Tsundue Tenzin (2004). Kora: Stories and Poems. Dharmsala: Tibet Works.
  14. Watkins, M. and Shulman,H., (2008) Toward Psychologies of Liberation. New York: Palgrave
  15. Winnicott, D.W. (1974). Deprivation and Delinquency. New York: Inlacs Publishers.


  1. Mulk Raj Anand’s The untouchable or selected short stories from the Poisoned Bread or Laxman Gaikward’s The Branded.
  2. Nandy, A. (2007) Time Treks. Permanent Black: New Delhi.
  3. Ogden,H. Thomas (2003). Conversations at the Frontiers of Dreaming. New York, London: Karnac.
  4. Ramaswamy Vijaya (ed.). (2003) Researching Indian Women. New Delhi: Manohar.
  5. Roshomon (1967) Film by Kurusawa
  6. Sonam Buchung (2006). Muses in Exile: A collection on Poems. New Delhi: Penguin.