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Phenomenology - A Qualitative Research Method

Phenomenology - A Qualitative Research Method

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  • 1. Phenomenology a Qualitative Procedure An inductive model of research where the researcher allows for a theory to come forward during the data collection and analysis phase of the research, or even later in the research process, as a general basis for comparison with other theories.
  • 2. Phenomenology According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, phenomenology is defined as, “1: the study of the development of human consciousness and self-awareness as a preface to or a part of philosophy 2a (1) : a philosophical movement that describes the formal structure of the objects of awareness and of awareness itself in abstraction from any claims concerning existence (2) : the typological classification of a class of phenomena<the phenomenology of religion>”
  • 3. Phenomenology Phenomenology finds its roots in disastrous times when Edmund Husserl sought to develop a new qualitative procedure which would lead to absolute certainty of the disastrous state in Germany following World War One. Germany was shaken to its very core. The business world was defunct. The German culture was confused to the point that even the art of the era reflected the confusion. Groenewold (2013) states, “To arrive at certainty, anything outside immediate experience must be ignored, and in this way the external world is reduced to the contents of personal consciousness.” The desire for absolute truth in this context of pure and utter strife and depression of all human functions brought about phenomenology as a means of gaining access to truth.
  • 4. Phenomenology (Kafle, 2013) states, “Phenomenology of Perception has identified four qualities that are considered as 'celebrated themes' or characteristics common to different schools of phenomenology. These qualities are description, reduction, essences and intentionality.”
  • 5. Phenomenology a Qualitative Procedure Qualitative research is an inquiry process of understanding a social or human problem, base on building a complex, holistic picture, formed with words, reporting detailed view of informants, and conducted in a natural setting. It is termed the constructivist approach or naturalistic, the interpretative approach or the postpositivist or postmodern perspective. For the qualitative researcher, the only reality is that constructed by the individuals involved in the research situation. An effort to intensely investigate and experience the exact phenomena of the study, the researcher and the object of the research while suspending any other reality that may or may not be represented.
  • 6. Phenomenology Phenomenolgical approaches seek to: ● Explore, ● describe, ● and analyze the meaning of individual lived experience. It asks the questions as to how the authors : ● perceive ● describe ● feel about it, ● judge it, ● remember it, ● make sense of it, ● and talk about it with others.
  • 7. Phenomenology There is an assumption of a prior, shared experience the author is having with the reader. The author and the reader then analyze the unique expressions and then compare notes by the shared experience due to the 'phenomena' of the study and all of the details inherent in this research procedure. The phenomena is processual and is describe as ● being, ● becoming, ● understanding, ● and knowing.
  • 8. Phenomenology There are authors how have problems with phenomenology and how it is constructed as a research method. (Heidegger,1988) states, “We have thus identified four groups of problems that constitute the content of the second part of the course: the problem of the ontological difference, the problem of the basic articulation of being, the problem of the possible modifications of being in its ways of being, the problem of the 'truth-character' of being. The four theses treated provisionally in the first part correspond to these four basic problems ... following the lead of these theses, are not accidental but grow out of the inner systematic coherence of the general problem of being.
  • 9. Phenomenology a Qualitative Procedure There are disadvantages to phenomenology. According to (Groenewold, 2004), “The researcher is required to make a substantial amount of judgement calls while consciously bracketing her/his own presuppositions in order to avoid inappropriate subjective judgements.” There are those who would say there are not only disadvantages but even go on to say there are problems. On a practical note, it is important to consider the possible difficulties of participants expressing themselves.
  • 10. Phenomenology Difficulties with the Qualitative Procedure Groenewold, (2004) states, “The subjectivity of the data leads to difficulties in establishing reliability and validity of approaches and information. It is difficult to detect or to prevent researcher induced bias. There can be difficulty in ensuring pure bracketing - this can lead to interference in the interpretation of the data. The presentation of results - the highly qualitative nature of the results can make them difficult to present in a manner that is usable by practitioners. Phenomenology does not produce generalisable data. Because the samples are generally very small, can we ever say that the experiences are typical? (cont.)
  • 11. Phenomenology Difficulties with the Qualitative Procedure On a practical note, it is important to consider the possible difficulties of participants expressing themselves. The subjectivity of the data leads to difficulties in establishing reliability and validity of approaches and information. It is difficult to detect or to prevent researcher induced bias. The presentation of results - the highly qualitative nature of the results can make them difficult to present in a manner that is usable by practitioners. Practically, it is difficult to gain the amount of time from those involved in the study. Additionally, it is a very time consuming effort that is difficult to determine when the research finally ends.”
  • 12. Phenomenology a Qualitative Procedure Qualitative research is performed to answer scientific questions that differ from quantitative research. According to Elliott (1995), qualitative research, “ … has taken the position that qualitative research lends itself to understanding participants’ perspectives, to defining phenomena in terms of experienced meanings and observed variations, and to developing theory from field work. By the same token, he argues that quantitative methods lend themselves to testing hypothesized relationships or causal explanations, evaluating the reliability, validity and underlying factor structure of psychological measures, and measuring degree of generalizability across samples.” The author emphasizes the high regard for the tool that provides the best answers for the research performed. This is the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning, but some believe the quantitative has less room for human error. "
  • 13. Phenomenology 1. Unstructured in-depth phenomenological interviews. 2. The questions were not specific to the topic but the participant’s experiences, feelings, beliefs and convictions about the concept. 3. The response to the questions is bracketed to determine “what goes on within” the participants. 4. After this bracketing is performed, the researcher is forced to bracket his own thoughts and emotion about the life if the individual and analyze the interviewer's interpretation. 5. The interviewer may never know how many questions may be used nor the length of the study with the participant. 6. Memoing is performed so the researcher's interview notes clearly represent what was seen, heard, and experience during the interview. 7. The participants can be directly interviewed multiple times or can be requested to write an essay of their viewpoint during the interview.
  • 14. Phenomenology Data Analysis According to Creswell (1994), “A plan for a qualitative procedure should end with some comments about the narrative that emerges from the data analysis.” This is indicative of the inductive model of thinking. In phenomenological studies, researchers classify, describe, interpret, and analyze the experience to arrive at conclusions on the reserach. It is a conscious study of experiences, an analysis of the pertinent conditions and experiences of the phenomena being studied. It comprises the possible conditions including language, intentionality, habits, social contexts and practices within the human experience. It is then that the researcher arrives at conclusions of the study.
  • 15. Phenomenology Data Analysis ● ● ● ● ● ● Creswell (1994) process of analysis: 1. Understand the philosophical perspectives how people experience a phenomenon. 2. Write research questions to explore the experience for individuals and their typical life. 3. Collect data from those who experience the phenomenon, usually accomplished with long interviews. 4. The phenomenological data analysis: divide into statements, then form clusters of meaning, ascertain a general description of the experience, including what is experienced and how it is experienced.
  • 16. References British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 38(3), 215-229. Caelli, K., Ray, L., & Mill, J. (2008). 'Clear as Mud': Toward Greater Clarity in Generic Qualitative Research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 2(2), 1-13. Creswell, J. W. (1994). Research design. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications. Creswell, J. W. (2012). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage. Elliott, R., Fischer, C. T., & Rennie, D. L. (1999). Evolving guidelines for publication of qualitative research studies in psychology and related fields. Groenewald, T. (2004). A phenomenological research design illustrated. Heidegger, M. (1988). The basic problems of phenomenology (Vol. 478). Indiana University Press. Kafle, N. P. (2013). Hermeneutic phenomenological research method simplified. Bodhi: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 5(1), 181-200. MERRIAM-WEBSTER. (2009). Merriam-Webster's Elementary Dictionary. Merriam Webster. Sandelowski, M. (2000). Focus on Research Methods-Whatever Happened to Qualitative Description?. Research in nursing and health, 23(4), 334-340.