Approaching the paranormal with research is most difficult due to the lack of acceptable evidence from most of the purported paranormal activities. The paranormal does not conform to conventional expectations of nature and thus makes it impossible to use scientific confirmation.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the different approaches taken into researching paranormal phenomenon and their activities.
This research approach involves collections of stories told throughout the years about paranormal phenomena. The best-known collector of paranormal anecdotes is Charles Fort, who is believed to have collected over 40 000 notes on unexplained paranormal experiences which he collected over many years in different ways.
These notes came from what he called ”The Orthodox Conventionality of Science”, which can be seen at odd events reported in magazines and newspapers.
These anecdotal collections lack the reproducibility of empirical evidence and are not amenable to the scientific investigation as it lacks verification of the credibility.
Participant observation claims that by immersing into the subject, you are presumed to gain an understanding of the subject. As with all other approaches, the participant-observer approach is criticised as a data-gathering technique. It is also believed by many scientists to be a core threat to the scientific objectivity of the researcher.
This approach has been used with many reality tv-shows and tells the stories of individual and private ghost hunter groups that advocate paranormal phenomena and their activities.
Parapsychologist J.B Rhine has been at the forefront of conducting an experimental investigation of the paranormal. He popularised the methodology of using card-guessing and dice-rolling experiments in a laboratory to find evidence of paranormal activity. However, it was proven to have methodological flaws and procedural errors.
The Parapsychological Association was formed in 1957 as the preeminent society for parapsychologists. They grew and became affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1969.
These approaches are still used today in researching and trying to prove paranormal phenomena and their activities.