interest inventory

Chapter 32: Qualitative approaches to career counselling

AUTHORS: M. Watson, M. McMahon

ABSTRACT: Sometimes viewed as a newcomer in the field of career psychology, qualitative career assessment has a long history that has been overshadowed by the dominant story of quantitative career assessment. This proposed book chapter explores the potential of qualitative career assessment to accommodate less tangible and therefore less measurable variables that may influence individual career development. Specifically, a qualitative approach to career assessment may be sensitive to variables such as culture, socio-economic background, barriers to career development and other contextual influences that have been less focused on in quantitative career assessment. The book chapter also considers the issue of complementarity between qualitative and quantitative career assessment from various international perspectives. This proposed chapter describes the development of a qualitative career assessment measure, My System of Career Influences (MSCI; McMahon, Patton & Watson, 2005a, b), which has been developed for use with adolescents in South Africa and Australia. The MSCI was developed according to guidelines suggested for qualitative career assessment by McMahon, Patton and Watson (2003). Subsequently, the MSCI has been translated for use with adolescents in The Netherlands, Iceland and Hong Kong. The chapter also describes the development of an adult version of the MSCI (McMahon, Watson & Patton, submitted a, b) which was trialled in Australia, England and South Africa. The chapter concludes with an overview of recent research using the MSCI on diverse South African population groups of adolescents and adults.

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