chapter  1
28 Pages

Events and Encounters as Units of Analysis for Ecological Psychology

A crucial decision faced by any scientific program is, quite simply, deciding what scale of things to look at. Tacitly or explicitly, a unit of analysis is selected-preferably one appropriate to the phenomena of interest. Choosing a unit that is too large makes the phenomena unanalyzable. Indeed, such over-zealous holism leaves the scientist little to say beyond pointing to the thing itself and expressing naked appreciation. Consider an attempt to explain the tides at the scale of planetary units of gravitational attraction. Because this unit of analysis is too coarse to differentiate the components of the Earth-moon system , and because the tidal effects of other planets are miniscule, the regular swelling of the waters cannot be explained.