PHENOMENOLOGICAL RESEARCH to describe a "lived experience"
PURPOSE OF PHENOMENOLOGICAL RESEARCH• is to illuminate the specific, to identify phenomena through how they are perceived by the actors in a situation.
In the human sphere this normallytranslates into gathering ‘deep’ information andperceptions through inductive, qualitative methodssuch as: interviews, discussions,participant observation, representing it from the perspectiveof the research participant(s)
• Phenomenology is • Epistemologically, concerned with the phenomenological study of experience approaches are based in from the perspective of a paradigm of personal the individual, knowledge and ‘bracketing’ taken-for- subjectivity, and granted assumptions emphasize the and usual ways of importance of personal perceiving perspective and interpretation.
Pure phenomenological research seeks Phenomenological methods are particularlyessentially to describe effective at bringing to the rather than explain, fore the experiences and and to start from a perceptions of individualsperspective free from from their own hypotheses or perspectives, and therefore at challenging structural or normative assumptions. preconceptions (Husserl 1970).
*Phenomenological andassociated approaches can be applied to single cases or to *While single-case studies are able to serendipitous or identify issues which illustrate discrepancies and system failures - and to illuminate or draw attention to ‘different’ situations - deliberately selected samples. positive inferences are less easy to make without a small sample of participants.
research, the strength of inference whichIn multiple to recur with more can be madeparticipant than one participant. increases rapidly once factors start
In this respect it is important to distinguish to the between statistical and population qualitative validity: phenomenological from whichresearch can be robust in indicating the presence the of factors and their effects in individual participants cases, but must be or cases were tentative in suggesting their extent in relation drawn.
Where the data is fairly disorganized -interview transcripts, unstructurednotes or personal texts - the first stage In a small-scale project lookingis to read through and get a feel for across themes between participantswhat is being said, identifying key is likely to be easy to do withthemes and issues in each text. Thesepoints - from all the texts for a small- physical documents, but anscale project, or a sample of different alternative useful where there areones where there are more than 15-20 larger numbers of participants is to- can then be aggregated and enter the data into a databaseorganised with the aid of a mind-map according to the analysis headings,or set of „post-it‟ notes. The resulting and use a mail merge facility tolist is used as a set of points to extract and compare entries. Thisinterrogate the texts and structure and also enables data entered undersummarise them (“what is this different headings to be juxtaposedparticipant saying about:”). Pointswhich aren‟t brought out through this and compared, particularly usefulprocess need to be added. to identify relationships between different themes and factors.