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Phenomenological Research

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Jennifer Coccaro

on 28 January 2014

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Transcript of Phenomenological Research

Phenomenology
People not understanding what it is

Expecting similar parameters to apply as for quantitative research.

Sample size: it can be hard to get over to people that a single' figure sample is valid

Phenomenology requires at least some understanding of the broader philosophical assumptions, and these should be identified by the researcher.

The participants in the study need to be carefully chosen to be individuals who have all experienced the phenomenon in question

Bracketing personal experiences may be difficult for the researcher

An interpretive approach to phenomenology would signal this as an impossibility (van Manen, 1990)—for the researcher to become separated from the text.
Edmund Husserl
(1859-1938)
Max van Manen
Clark Moustakas
(1924-2012)
What is Phenomenology?
Purpose: To illuminate the specific, to identify phenomena through how they are perceived by the actors in a situation.
Data Analysis
• The procedures, illustrated by Moustakas (1994), consist of identifying a phenomenon to study,
bracketing
out one’s experiences, and collecting data from several persons who have experienced the phenomenon

• The researcher then analyzes the data by reducing the information to significant statements or quotes and combines the statements into themes (Moustakas (1994) calls this step
horizontalization
).

• Following that, the researcher develops a textural description of the experiences of the persons (
what
participants experienced), a structural description of their experiences (
how
they experienced it in terms of the conditions, situations, or context), and a combination of the textural and structural descriptions to convey an overall essence of the experience also called the essential or invariant structure.

• The
“essence”
passage suggest that all experiences have an underlying structure (grief is the same whether the loved one is a puppy, a parakeet, or a child).

Data Collection
Surfacing deep issues

Making voices heard

Strong philosophical component

Phenomenology provides a deep understanding of a phenomenon as experienced by several individuals.

Knowing some common experiences can be valuable for groups such as therapists, teachers, health personnel, and policymakers.

Phenomenology can involve a streamlined form of data collection by including only single or multiple interviews with participants.

Using the Moustakas (1994) approach for analyzing the data helps provide a structured approach for novice researchers.
Transcendental Phenomenology
Hermeneutical Phenomenology
Who is Max van Manen?


An educator, wrote a book on hermeneutical phenomenology
Widely cited in the health literature
Definitions
The term “human science” is used interchangeably with “hermeneutics phenomenology” especially when explaining pedagogy
Phenomenology describes how one orients to lived experiences
Hermeneutics describes how one interprets the texts of life
To do research is always to question the way we experience the world.
Theorizing is a way to attach ourselves to the world, to become more fully part of it, to become the world (questions: What it means to be human: questions such as researching the ways a woman can experience the world as a woman)
Research is a caring act, knowing what is most essential to being.

Van Manen discusses phenomenology research as follows:
a. Researchers first turn to a phenomenon which seriously interests them (e.g., reading, running, driving, mothering).
b. Investigate experience as we live it rather than as we conceptualize it
c. Reflect on essential themes, what constitutes the nature of this lived experience or phenomenon
d. Write a description of the phenomenon (write and rewrite)
e. Maintain a strong relation to the topic of inquiry
f. Balance the parts of the writing to the whole. (Creswell, 2006)
g. Phenomenology is not only a description, but it is also seen as an interpretive process in which the researcher makes an interpretation of the meaning of the lived experiences.

It has no conclusion or summary – it’s like poetry, the poem is the thing, you can’t summarize it or you lose the essence of what the author wanted to say

Hermeneutics phenomenology uses a qualitative research approach including description, interpretation, self-reflection/critical analysis.
Phenomenology is:

a.
Systematic
– uses especially practiced modes of questioning, reflecting, focusing

b.
Explicit
– attempts to articulate the structures of meaning in lived experiences

c.
Self-critical
– as it continually examines its own goals and methods in order to realize the strengths and weaknesses of its approach and achievements

d.
Intersubjective
– the researcher needs the reader in order to develop a relation with the phenomenon and to validate the phenomenon as described

e.
Human science
– as it studies the structures of meaning of the lived human world

Inter
Phenomenology is a philosophy, a theory of the unique, interested in what is not replaceable, fundamentally a writing activity (hermeneutics phenomenology)
Phenomenological reflection is not introspective but retrospective.
Hermeneutics phenomenology uses a qualitative research approach including description, interpretation, self-reflection/critical analysis.

Practice (or life) comes first, and theory comes later as a result of reflection
The task of phenomenological research and writing is to construct a possible interpretation of the nature of a certain human experience
Phenomenology aims at making explicit and seeking universal meaning
The basic purpose is to reduce individual experiences with a phenomenon to a description of the universal essence


The study of persons, beings that have consciousness, who act purposefully in or on the world by creating objects of meaning that are expressions of how they exist in the world
Research in education should be guided by pedagogical standards based on textual reflection
It is rationalistic
It strives for precision and exactness by aiming for interpretive descriptions that exact fullness and completeness of detail.

Human Science
In the 1780’s Philosopher, Immanuel Kant defined Phenomena as the appearances, which constitute our experience. Within a century’s time, the history of phenomenology took roots.

The history stems from the late nineteenth century when a group of Austrian philosophers wanted to counter the extreme subjectivity fostered by the philosophy of the later German idealists.

Borrowing their methods from the emerging sciences of psychology and sociology, these phenomenologists ultimately aimed to protect the objectivity of experiential content.
Dr. Edmund Husserl
, a student of German philosopher Franz Brentano, was a mathematician who fused philosophy with much of his published work on psychology and logic.

Dr. Husserl published his first monograph in 1891, which was an extension of his dissertation research titled,
Philosophy of Arithmetic
.

It was the negative critique of Husserl’s first monograph and Husserl’s subsequent published response to the same critique that gave birth to his phenomenology method.
Between 1900-1901 Husserl’s had his first phenomenological publication; it consisted of two volumes, titled
Logical Investigations.
It was the second volume that proved more substantial, consisting of six “descriptive-psychological” and “epistemological” investigations into

(I) expression and meaning,
(II) universals,
(III) the formal ontology of parts and wholes (mereology),
(IV) the “syntactical” and mereological structure of meaning,
(V) the nature and structure of intentionality as well as
(VI) the interrelation of truth, intuition and cognition.

From our experience of the phenomena, Husserl asserts that although human consciousness remains supremely important as the unique source of our knowledge, our goal must always be to transcend the temporal limitations of ordinary experience in order to fathom the timeless reality that underlies it (Kemerling, 2011).

It was this version of phenomenology that most significantly influenced the philosophy of
Heidegger
who studied under Husserl and in 1927 applied the methods of phenomenology to ontology (about the existence of entities, substances, or beings of particular kinds).

Twenty years later, French philosopher,
Maurice Merleau-Ponty
, applied the methods of Husserl's phenomenology to the relation of mind and body in
The Phenomenology of Perception (1945) and The Visible and the Invisible (1964).
The ultimate goal is to understand how these different aspects of an experience are constituted into the actual thing as experienced by the person experiencing it. Phenomenology is a direct reaction to the psychologism (explanation or interpretation of events or ideas in psychological terms) and physicalism (that everything is physical) of Husserl's time.
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804
Edmund Husserl
(1859-1938)
Maurice Merleau-Ponty
1908-1961
Martin Heidegger
1889-1976
A narrative study reports the life of a single individual; a phenomenological study describes the meaning for several individuals of their lived experiences of a concept or a phenomenon.

Phenomenologists aim to describe what all participants have in common as they experience a phenomenon (e.g., grief is universally experienced).

To this end, qualitative researchers identify a phenomenon (an “object” of human experience; van Manen, 1990, p. 163).

This human experience may be phenomena such as insomnia, being left out, anger, grief, or undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery (Moustakas, 1994).

Phenomenology is "the study of the lived experiences of persons, the view that these experiences are conscious ones (van Manen, 1990), and the development of descriptions of the essences of these experiences, not
explanations or analyses (Moustakas, 1994). "
Two Approaches to Phenomenology
Hermeneutic phenomenology (van Manen, 1990)
Empirical, transcendental, or psychological phenomenology (Moustakas, 1994).
• Focused less on the interpretations of the researcher (compared to van Manen) and more on a
description
of the experiences of participants

• Moustakas focuses on one of Husserl’s concepts,
epoche
(or bracketing), in which investigators set aside their experiences, as much as possible, to take a fresh perspective toward the phenomenon under examination.

• Transcendental means “in which everything is perceived freshly, as if for the first time” (Moustakas, 1994, p. 34).

• Moustakas provides systematic steps for data analysis

Transcendental or psychological phenomenology
• Data are collected from the individuals who have experienced the phenomenon.

• Often data collection in phenomenological studies consists of in- depth interviews and multiple interviews with participants.

• Polkinghorne (1989) recommends that researchers interview from 5 to 25 individuals who have all experienced the phenomenon.

• Other forms of data may also be collected, such as observations, journals, art, poetry, music, and other forms of art.

• Van Manen (1990) mentions taped conversations, formally written responses, accounts of vicarious experiences of drama, films, poetry, and novels.

van Manen
Moustakas
Horizontalization
Husserl
(1967) discusses phenomenology as a philosophy

Van Manen
(1990, p. 10) states that "phenomenology asks for the very nature of a phenomenon for that which makes a some-'thing' what it is.

Moustakas
(1994) uses phenomenology as a research methods framework.

Polkinghorne
(1989) states that phenomenology explores the structures of consciousness in human experiences.
References
Creswell, J.W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (3rd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Polkinghorne, D. E. (1989). Phenomenological research methods. In R. S. Valle &
S. Halling (Eds.), Existential-phenomenological perspectives in psychology
(pp. 41–60). New York: Plenum.

van Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience: human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. New York, NY: State University of New York Press.

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