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The main methodological approaches, means and results of military psychological research

The determination of some initial positions in the methodological and theoretical analysis of military psychological research allows us to turn to identifying the approaches that exist in them. For a military psychologist, this problem is especially significant. Its relevance is determined, firstly, by the needs of practice. The personnel of modern army and navy units is characterized by a huge variety of worldview and life principles: that which is acceptable for one soldier may be categorically denied by another. We are talking about the existing differences in religious, moral, social, political, etc. attitudes and stereotypes of warriors, therefore, a military psychologist-researcher should be able to navigate the same variety of approaches coexisting in science with a view to their further knowledge and consideration in their research practice.

Secondly, the research in the field of military psychology itself is a theoretical generalization and empirical indicators obtained as a result of applying a whole range of approaches, sometimes not recognized by the researcher. Nevertheless, for the researcher himself, the approach has been and remains the basic methodological tool, which ensures the isolation and scientific identification of the psychological phenomenon being studied, as well as the determination of the directions of its knowledge that are optimal in concrete historical conditions. In other words, the approach serves as a “scientific worldview prism” through which the flow of information received in the process of psychological cognition of the researcher is identified, interpreted and directed along a certain path.

This is not about theoretical and general science schools in world psychology (structuralism, functionalism, behaviorism, psychoanalysis, etc.), but about approaches as forms of a scientific worldview that express the researcher’s attitude and initial positions towards the goals, objectives and content of military-psychological knowledge .

Given the impossibility of identifying scientifically rigorous reasons for structuring and ranking various approaches to psychological research (there are more than three dozen of them in psychology), it seems appropriate to list only a few of them, in our opinion, more interesting to a military psychologist-researcher. It:

“Natural-scientific”, based solely on the theory and methods (observation and experiment) of experienced natural sciences and reflected in psychophysical, psychophysiological, psychobiological (including evolutionist) and a number of other concepts, rigidly deterministic views on the human psyche and consciousness, its behavior and performance results;

“Humanitarian”, which considers the impossibility of describing a person and his properties only in terms of external, often “accurately” mathematically measured characteristics, and asserting the presence in each person of an original inner world, the possibility of value self-determination and comprehension of “human in man”. In military psychological research, this approach is implemented within the framework of the reflexive-humanistic paradigm;

“Massive”, associated with the massization of European society at the beginning of the 20th century and due to the emergence of socio-psychological theories of the middle and macro levels, an attempt to describe and explain their approaches to the inner world of a person and his personality;

“Religious”, represented by the traditions of the religions of mankind and framed in Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and other psychological concepts;

“Personalistic”, interpreting the reason for the development of science, including psychology and its industries and schools, as a result of the activity, will and reason (“outbreaks of genius”) of individuals - scientific leaders or leaders of research teams;

“Paradigmatic”, explaining the evolution of human knowledge by the change of paradigms - “generally accepted examples of actual scientific practice” (T. Kuhn), the only possible ideas in a particular historical era. These paradigms in the evolution of psychology were various forms of determinism (religious, mechanistic, biological, social, etc.), empiricism, associationism, structuralism, etc., each in its own way manifesting itself in modern military-psychological knowledge;

“Socially totalitarian”, defined by the official state ideology, limiting the role of creative and theoretical justification for the manifestation in psychology of a unique, personal, moral, valuable, semantic, etc. In other words, when implementing this approach, the scientific adequacy of the reflection of psychological problems and their solutions are sacrificed to ideological stereotypes and attitudes. “Man is social, ... but not all,” wrote F.M. Dostoevsky. - The reduction of a person to sociality is the actual denial of the identity and inviolability of the inner world of a person and leads to the destruction of its freedom ";

“Synergetic”, referring to any science, including psychology, as part of the process of reflection of a single open dynamic system - objective reality and subjecting it to universal evolutionary and organizational laws, as well as involving the use of uniform and universal cognitive and descriptive means in scientific research conducted by researchers searches.

The indicated variety of constructing psychological views of the past and the present directs the military psychologist-researcher to search for a compromise - the need to take into account existing approaches in his scientific and practical activities. But this generalization, in our opinion, is significantly more significant not by itself, but by its methodological consequences, orienting army and navy psychologists to the implementation of the following provisions in the process of military psychological research and practice:

firstly, the truth of psychological views is possible in the context of specific theories, directions or schools of psychology. It is necessary to remember the great aphorism from F. Bacon’s “Great Restoration of Sciences” that “truth is the daughter of time, not authority”, that is, universal and timeless truths in science, including military psychological, cannot be The statement in this aspect of M. Planck is widely known: “Usually, new scientific truths do not triumph so that their opponents are convinced and admit that they are wrong, but mostly so that these opponents gradually die out, and the younger generation assimilates the truth at once”;

secondly, psychological categories and concepts, laws and trends also never have one predetermined meaning and are determined by the specific theoretical structure and orientation of the psychological school in military psychology. Therefore, in military psychological research, it is necessary to take into account the position adopted in some areas of knowledge that scientific facts confirm or deny because they are recognized by a specific theory or school and their representatives;

thirdly, it is necessary to differentiate the epistemological, ontological and didactic statuses of the military-psychological problem under study. If the ontological aspect involves the study of the psychic or consciousness as integral entities with ontological characteristics: primary or secondary, the property of the brain is living matter or the manifestation of an absolute spirit, substance or derivative, etc., then the epistemological aspect involves their study as objects of cognition with characteristics: dynamic - static, fixed - non-fixed, knowable - unknowable, has a structure or levels, etc. The didactic aspect allows for the presentation and bringing of the knowledge gained about the results of psychological research in the form of models, views, concepts, theories, i.e. individual abstractions as a result of subjective reflection of the results of scientific research;

fourthly, for constructive solving the urgent tasks of military psychological research, it is necessary to take into account specific truths in modern military psychology: they are an invariant fact of historical and scientific experience as the result of a scientific compromise of a group of scientists or researchers, generally accepted and binding on all adherents of a certain (often corporate) areas of military psychological science;

fifth, these approaches orient us on the realization of important aspects of military psychological research: a) taking into account the “struggle for survival” and the fact of the coexistence of specific psychological theories and schools in military psychology; b) problems of understanding, explanation and interpretation of their various or common approaches, methods and results; c) the objective necessity and inevitability of scientific pluralism - the so-called "methodological loyalty to theoretical disorder" - to various (even eclectic) approaches, directions and schools of psychology;

sixth, as a consequence, it seems possible and necessary to confirm in military psychological research the diversity and variability of scientific and ideological attitudes and knowledge: the denial of the absolutism of specific assessments, views, methods in military psychology, the integration in research practice of all known approaches and concepts for achieve a positive research result, realize their potentials in military psychological science and practice;

seventh, no less important for military-psychological research remains the provision on the need to achieve objectivity and reliability of the applied approaches and methods, which can be achieved using original theoretical approaches and operational-methodological means by referring to primary sources and copyright texts, studying the “primary” information, not “extraneous” interpretive (albeit authoritative) assessments and comments;

eighth, in our opinion, the observation that each researcher has the right to make moral judgments and evaluate past and present experience of military psychological research in terms of progress or decline will be legitimate.
These concepts are subjective, and not strictly scientific. But, nevertheless, each generation of military psychologists has the right, moreover, it is obliged to present objective information and only then give it, if possible, a more adequate assessment of reality. It is logical that objectivity cannot be completely divorced from subjectivity, but each researcher in his judgments must clearly and concretely indicate and indicate where the field of scientific facts ends and where his own assessments begin. In these contexts, perhaps the most objective attitude to the military-psychological research of the past and the present.

At the same time, like any area of ​​human cognition, military psychological research in itself has qualitative characteristics, which today include: a) understanding of empirical facts and results in the system of concepts and categories of military psychology; b) the inclusion of acquired knowledge in the composition of past or newly formed military psychological theories, concepts and views, the reflection of research results in the designated forms of scientific worldview; d) a generalization of the studied psychological facts at the level of patterns or trends; e) forecasting the content and directions of development of the studied psychological processes and phenomena with the aim of their comprehensive knowledge and, if necessary, optimal transformation.

These characteristics act simultaneously as scientific requirements for the organization of military-psychological research, and for its results. Therefore, the result - the product of military psychological research is not only knowledge in itself as an end in itself. It can include a whole set of scientific tools used and improved by each researcher, namely:

methods of observation and experimentation, instruments, installations, methods of measuring, collecting, processing, storing and transmitting psychological information that are used not only in military psychological science itself, but also outside it, and above all in army and navy practice: vital activity of troops, management of parts and divisions, etc .;

scientific style of rationality, which is relayed from the results of military psychological research and their practical recommendations to all spheres and levels of vital activity of the Armed Forces. The systematic and justification that is so characteristic of scientific activity is a great social value for the army and navy, which in various forms (for example, the scientific, including the psychologically sound style of military leadership and educational work with military personnel) has a beneficial effect on the life of the personnel of the units and units;

source of moral values. Like any kind of scientific research, military psychological research shows us this kind of approach to reflecting reality, in which honesty, objectivity and adequacy of reality are the most important principles of the professional ethics of a military psychologist.

What is the arsenal of means by which military psychological research is being developed? The leading means of psychological knowledge is a method that integrates the methodological capabilities of approaches and techniques, connected in a certain way and functioning in the interests of studying psychological phenomena and processes. The analytical methods of psychological knowledge include induction and deduction, analysis and synthesis, abstraction and generalization, idealization, analogy, description, explanation, prediction, justification, hypotheses, confirmation and refutation, modeling, etc .; to empirical ones - observation and experiment, tests and polls, as well as methods of descriptive psychology (hermeneutics, introspection, self-report, empathic listening, etc.).

The analysis of the practical use of military-psychological knowledge convinced the authors to propose certain rules for their use. These include the following:

not a single task and situation in military-psychological research requires a psychologist to use the entire amount of available cognitive means. We must adhere to the methodological principle of economy and optimality of thinking and action, known as Occam’s razor: "It is useless to do with much that can be done with less." In other words, one does not need to resort to the knowledge of any psychological phenomena by many forces and means, when it is possible to manage with a smaller number of them;

each means of psychological knowledge must be used as intended. Concrete methods and techniques of military psychological research should be oriented towards a specific object of cognition. A rational object should be investigated by means available for its investigation, and an empirically fixed object - by means of study available to it;

each research task requires subordination in the application of psychological knowledge. Organizing military-psychological research, it is necessary to consistently use various scientific methods according to the generally accepted formula "from simple to complex." In choosing and searching for effective methods, one does not need to jump over the levels of psychological knowledge, skipping and ignoring the intermediate links that may turn out to be optimal in the current study. Ignoring this requirement leads to “methodological chaos”, unpredictability of results and the absence of a system in the organization of military-psychological research;

it is advisable to use multilevel means of psychological knowledge both sequentially and in parallel. When studying complex psychological phenomena and processes, one must be guided by the integrated use of methods of military psychological research effective for specific conditions, both horizontally and vertically;

the tasks of military psychological research cannot be solved only by "purely psychological methods" - a set of means from related fields of knowledge is needed. For no one is the revelation of the interdisciplinary status of humanistically oriented disciplines, which include psychological science with its branches, including military psychology. Thus, an interdisciplinary approach at various levels of military psychological research should become a scientific norm.
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