A Problem Solving Approach to Research

Investigative Psychology as an overall Problem-Solving Approach to Psychological Research

For Canter, Investigative Psychology goes beyond a concern with the contributions that psychologists can make to investigations and the legal process, to encapsulate an overall approach to, philosophy and methodology for psychological research.

He distinguishes between this "investigatory" approach to research and "applied" research, arguing that applied research is defined in terms of the issues of interest to the psychologist and then attempts are made to apply the findings to a given real world problem or context afterwards.

By contrast, within an "Investigatory" approach, the research questions are defined by the real world problem, in terms relevant to that particular context, so that the research findings integrate seamlessly and immediately with the problem, offering direct solutions.

Aspects of this investigatory approach to psychological research are explored in Canter, D. (2000) Seven Assumptions for an Investigative Environmental Psychology. In S. Wapner, J.Dmick, T. Yamamoto & H Minami (Eds) Theoretical Perspectives in Environmental Behaviour Research: Underlying assumptions, research problems and methodologies. New York: Plenum pp 191-206.


Youngs, D. (Ed.) (2008). The Behavioural Analysis of Crime: New Directions in Offender Profiling. A Festschrift in Honour of David Canter; Ashgate Publishing: Aldershot, England.