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Reforming data analysis methods in behavioral research

While modernist critical theory (as described above) concerns itself with “forms of authority and injustice that accompanied the evolution of industrial and corporate capitalism as a political-economic system,” postmodern critical theory politicizes social problems “by situating them in historical and cultural contexts, to implicate themselves in the process of collecting and analyzing data, and to relativize their findings.”[4] Meaning itself is seen as unstable due to the rapid transformation in social structures. As a result, the focus of research is centered on local manifestations, rather than broad generalizations.

Postmodern critical research is also characterized by the crisis of representation, which rejects the idea that a researcher’s work is an “objective depiction of a stable other”. Instead, many postmodern scholars have adopted “alternatives that encourage reflection about the ‘politics and poetics’ of their work. In these accounts, the embodied, collaborative, dialogic, and improvisational aspects of qualitative research are clarified”.[16]

The term “critical theory” is often appropriated when an author works within sociological terms, yet attacks the social or human sciences (thus attempting to remain “outside” those frames of inquiry). Michel Foucault is one of these authors.[17]

Jean Baudrillard has also been described as a critical theorist to the extent that he was an unconventional and critical sociologist;[18] this appropriation is similarly casual, holding little or no relation to the Frankfurt School.[19] Jürgen Habermas of The Frankfurt School is one of the key critics of postmodernism.[20]

Critical theory is focused on language, symbolism, communication, and social construction.