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Biographical Data

  1. Richard F. Farmer1,
  2. Norman D. Sundberg2

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0130

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Farmer, R. F. and Sundberg, N. D. 2010. Biographical Data. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Oregon Research Institute

  2. 2

    University of Oregon

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Biographical data of one sort or another are shared in most day-to-day social encounters. When meeting new people, for example, some exchange of biographical data often occurs (e.g., the disclosure of one's occupation or place of employment). Professionals who work with people in a variety of contexts (e.g., physicians, government workers, potential employers) frequently obtain histories of health-related events, education, and employment. In applied clinical settings, for example, therapists will often assess aspects of a client's life history (e.g., family history; school and occupational history; social history; health, medical, and psychiatric history), and evaluate the potential relevance of this information in relation to the client's stated reasons for entering into therapy and for the selection of appropriate therapies. Several methods or resources can be used for the collection of biographical data, including informal interviews, semi-structured interviews (von Zerssen, Pössl, Hecht, Black, Garczynski, & Barthelmes, 1998), “memory books” (Thomson & Holland, 2005), institutional records, documents, and specially designed biographical inventories and checklists.