Last week the March SCRIP meeting took place. We discussed a paper on think-aloud methods and had a productive discussion about its potential. I had been interested in verbal protocols and protocol analysis for some time so deliberately chose the paper as a stimulus for discussion in the group to seek others’ views.

There were some mixed opinions about it, and in particular several of us felt that although the first part of the paper set up the potential for the method very well, the subsequent example and analysis presented was rather thin and a bit disappointing. However, rather than a criticism of the approach, some of us felt that this provided scope for taking the idea further and developing it. The think-aloud apporach has proved controversial in the literature, with many arguments both for and against it, but we felt that these conflicting opinions could often by explained by epistemologiocal and theoretical differences. We also discussed the difference between verbal protocol analysis (which seems to be the most common in the literature) and using verbal protocols as a method of data collection which could then be analysed using specific qualitative techniques.

I am keen to try the second of these approaches as it seems to be a relatively unexplored area and I feel it could offer some interesting insights into my research. Further updates to follow when I’ve tried it out!


Rachel Maunder had her paper on storytelling accepted to the Journal of Early Childhood Research, and Lisa Lazard and my paper on social representations of breastfeeding was accepted to Psychology and Health. Go us! I also had a chapter on communities and professional identities accepted for publication in a book on community psychology (edited by Carl Walker and Katherine Johnson).  A good week for SCRIP!  It would be good to hear what’s going on for other people on the publication front?


Are we allowed to upload papers onto the blog?

At our meeting on 30 March, we’ll be discussing: Young (2005) Direct from the source: the value of ‘think-aloud’ data in understanding learning, Journal of Educational Enquiry, Vol. 6, No. 1.

Dr John Cromby, from the University of Loughborough, visited the Division today, to present his paper ‘Don’t Worry – Be Happy’ (worryingly, with appropriate musical accompaniment). John talked about the way that current government policy aims to both promote and measure happiness as a goal of social policy and a measure of progress and success. He described some of the origins of this trend, considered some of its likely implications, and discuss reasons why psychologists might want to be wary of this development.

For more information on Dr Cromby, see:


Pull up a chair. The place is still a bit sparse  and minimalist, but we hope to populate it with lots of new and exciting posts about the research group very soon.