New Adventure for Qualitative Inquiry;Trajectory Equifinality Approach (TEA)


Trans-national website on TEA is here

SATO, Tatsuya, Ph.D.

Ritsumeikan University


satotster_AT_gmail.com










TEA has been developed since 2004 by Jaan Valsiner, Tatsuya Sato and Yuko Yasuda

TEA consists of Historically Structured Sampling (HSS), Trajectory Equifinality Model (TEM) and Three Layers Model of Genesis (TLMG)

TEA is a triarchic construction in cultural psychology which consists of three sub-components. These are the Historically Structured Sampling (HSS), Trajectory Equifinality Model (TEM) and Three Layer Model of Genesis (TLMG).

Historically Structured Sampling (HSS)

HSS is a methodological tool of sampling for qualitative inquiry.HSS is inevitably related to Equifinality Point (EFP) as a research focus. Researchers set their spontaneous interesting research focus by themselves (neither obeying professor's instruction nor reading antecedent references). Then HSS makes it possible to pick up participants who experienced an Equifinality point while arriving there through very different life course trajectories (neither random sampled people nor college students).

Trajectory Equifinality Model (TEM)

TEM is a methodology for describing life within irreversible time and is the flagship of TEA.It has some basic notions, such as Bifurcation Point (BFP), Equifinality point (EFP) and Trajectory. The notion of irreversible time originates in Henri Bergson's philosophy, and is a premise of TEM.



In the figure above, BFP is depicted as ellipse and EFP is depicted as rectangle. Simply speaking, BFP is a point that has alternative options to go and EFP is a point that multiple trajectories to reach.

Three Layer Model of Genesis (TLMG)

TLMG is related to (Bifurcation Point) BFP. TLMG is a framework for understanding the transactional nature of signs as they are organized into a working in dialogical system of self at the levels of microgenesis, mesogenesis, and ontogenesis. Here it is implied that self is not homogeneous entity but complex process of different voices. TLMG makes it possible to understand how signs emerge at a particular time and place (i.e., at bifurcation) in a life trajectory.



In the figure above, he dash line on the bottom expresses the process of microgenesis (in German, Aktualgenese), ellipse of the middle expresses mesogenetic level and half ellipse on the top expresses the ontogenesis. Here, the very mesogenetic level is a really interesting focus for cultural psychology. Neither direct living experiences nor stable value and/or personality is suitable for TEM in cultural psychology. BFP is a point where/when activities are guided to move in one direction. And the central issue is that of mesogenetic selectivity. Irreversible and pervasive time becomes irreversible and asymmetry after the moment the promoter sign emerges on BFP.

Core Publications(in English)
Valsiner, J. & Sato, T. (2006). Historically Structured Sampling (HSS): How can psychology's methodology become tuned in to the reality of the historical nature of cultural psychology? In Straub, J. , K?lbl, C. , Weidemann, D. & Zielke, B. (Eds.) Pursuit of meaning. Advances in cultural and cross-cultural psychology(pp.215-251). Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.[Downlord]

Sato, T., Hidaka, T. & Fukuda, M. (2009). Depicting the Dynamics of Living the Life: The Trajectory Equifinality Model. In J. Valsiner, P. Molenaar, M. Lyra and N. Chaudhary (Eds), Dynamic process methodology in the social and developmental sciences (p. 217]240). New York: Springer.[Downlord]

Sato, T. (2011). Minding Money: How Understanding of Value is Culturally Promoted. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 45, 116-131. [Downlord]

Sato, T., Yasuda, Y., Kanzaki, M. & Valsiner, J. (2014/forthcoming). From Describing to Reconstructing Life Trajectories: How the TEA (Trajectory Equifinality Approach) explicates context-dependent human phenomena. Cultural Psychology and Its Future: Complementarity in a New Key [Downlord]


Related Publications

Valsiner, J. (2001). Comparative study of human cultural development. Madrid: Fundacion Infancia y Aprendizaje.

Sato, T. and J. Valsiner (2010). Time in life and life in time: Between experiencing and accounting. Ritsumeikan Journal of Human Sciences(ِlԉȊwj 20(1): 79-92.[Downlord]