Reflexivity

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Topics: Sociology
Reflexivity has been described as making explicit the process by which research is produced.
Discuss how psychologists have attempted to put this into practice.
Reflexivity is considered to be a social theory that can be implemented into other categories such as social science, economics, relationships and individualism. The principle of reflexivity was first conceptualized by sociologist William Thomas who stated the following quote;
'The situations that men define as true become true for them.'
This encouraged research by other sociologists, such as Robert K. Merton who chose to explore other factors that could influence reflexivity, and defined the notion of a self-fulfilling prophecy, which suggests that once a prediction or prophecy is made, actors may accommodate their behaviours and actions so that a statement that would have been false becomes true or, conversely, a statement that would have been true becomes false - as a consequence of the prediction or prophecy being made. It is the prophecy that has a constitutive impact on the outcome or result, changing the outcome from what would otherwise have happened.
Popper (1957) was the first to establish a different perception of the concept of reflexivity based on a scientific approach; as a result this produced the definition of what we know as the 'Oedipal effect'. This theory then inspired others such as Flanagan (1981) and Nagel (1961) to explore it concept in greater depth, demonstrating the problems that occur by scientifically analysing reflexivity as a science. They argued that reflexivity complicates all three of the traditional roles that are typically played by a classical science in terms of the explanation, predication and control, as if a prediction can lead to changes in the system that the prediction is made in relation to, it then challenges the possibilities to assess scientific hypotheses by making comparisons with the predictions they entail with and the events that actually occur.

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