Making meaning of quantitative assessment in career counseling through a storytelling approach

Watson, Mark and McMahon, Mary (2014). Making meaning of quantitative assessment in career counseling through a storytelling approach. In Gideon Arulmani, Anuradha J. Bakshi, Frederick T. L. Leong and A. G. Watts (Ed.), Handbook of career development: international perspectives (pp. 631-644) New York, NY, United States: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-9460-7_35

Author Watson, Mark
McMahon, Mary
Title of chapter Making meaning of quantitative assessment in career counseling through a storytelling approach
Title of book Handbook of career development: international perspectives
Place of Publication New York, NY, United States
Publisher Springer
Publication Year 2014
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-9460-7_35
Open Access Status
Year available 2014
Series International and Cultural Psychology
ISBN 9781461494591
ISSN 1574-0455
Editor Gideon Arulmani
Anuradha J. Bakshi
Frederick T. L. Leong
A. G. Watts
Chapter number 35
Start page 631
End page 644
Total pages 14
Total chapters 41
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
The use of quantitative career assessment in career counseling has been challenged and debated for over half a century. Integral to this debate have been questions about the relevance of traditional quantitative assessment and Western approaches to career counseling to countries and cultures beyond those in which they were developed. Recently, as narrative career counseling has begun to assume a more prominent place in the field of career development, the intensity of this debate heightened to the point where a binary or either/or position was reached. Such a position has not been helpful to the field and has devalued the contributions of both quantitative career assessment and narrative career counseling as well as the potential to develop a stronger discipline founded on the complementarity of the two. The need for a more conciliatory position has been advocated where the merits of both quantitative career assessment and narrative career counseling may be acknowledged. To date, however, few practical suggestions have been offered about how this persistent issue may be addressed. In particular, career counselors require an approach towards quantitative career assessment that will allow them to integrate traditional career assessment approaches with the more recent movement towards narrative career counseling.
Addressing this challenge would help provide career counselors using narrative career counseling approaches with the opportunity to more easily use established quantitative career assessment. Thus a goal emanating from this binary position is to develop approaches that enable career counselors to translate quantitative career assessment into a more qualitative career process that allows clients to consider their career decisions more contextually and holistically. The challenge to find some common ground between quantitative and qualitative perspectives of career counseling and assessment draws our attention to the issue of process in career counseling and assessment and, more specifically, how to introduce and conduct career assessment in a meaningful way in the career counseling process. In this chapter what is considered is how quantitative career assessment could be reconceptualized less as a set of scores that defines clients as a psychometric identity. Rather, quantitative career assessment is conceptualized more as a means to achieve the goal of allowing clients to develop contextualized stories that take account of career assessment results in a way that permits clients to actively engage in the construction of future stories.
Importantly, in this chapter the use of an Integrative Structured Interview (ISI) process is described within a storytelling approach to narrative career counseling that demonstrates the complementarity of quantitative career assessment and storytelling. First, the storytelling approach is described. Second, broad guidelines for qualitatively incorporating quantitative career assessment into career counseling are presented. Subsequently, the ISI process is presented to illustrate how quantitative career assessment may be storied in a contextually sensitive process. The ISI process is demonstrated through two case studies using internationally applied quantitative career assessment instruments, specifically Holland’s Self-Directed Search interest questionnaire and Super’s Work Values Inventory-Revised. In concluding the chapter, new directions in the use of quantitative career assessment in career counseling are offered. In addition, the relevance of storying quantitative career assessment in diverse cultural contexts is considered.
Keyword Cognitive psychology
Developmental psychology
Economic psychology
Industrial organisation
Q-Index Code B1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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