Phenomenological research approaches are used by psychologists with intent of studying meanings attached to human experiences as they happen unplanned. Main focus lies in the understanding of lived experience, how we learn, initiate activities and comprehend our engagements in life (Davidsen, 2013). Thus, they aim at explaining why certain human phenomena happen and how they occur in the course of living. The research methods have their foundation in human science which upholds that people attach meanings depending on their cognitive, perceptive and language capabilities.
Edmund Husserl is regarded as the founder of phenomenology. He defines it as the study of mankind meanings brought about by an individual's consciousness. Further, Husserl employed a descriptive-reflective model to explain that the consciousness is intended and has a specific direction. He goes ahead to claim that any logically coherent interpretation has potential of being filled by subjective principle. It is essentially done by a unified intuition. According to Moustaka (2010), one of the research methods Husserl formulated was systematic reflection. It was developed due to horizontal nature of human consciousness which led to complexities. Further, transcendental phenomenology approach explains the responsibilities of different reflective activities in pursuit of truthful statements. It helps in understanding externalities and internalities. Amedeo Giorgi came up with an alternative human scientific and qualitative approach to psychological research. His methodology entails establishment and collection of data in form of unprejudiced verbal descriptions. However, he perceives that requesting research parties for validation is inappropriate. Van Kaam expounds further on this ideology by proposing a more suitable solution in that it is essential to seek input of expertise in the particular field to affirm intersubjectivity.
Martin Heidegger holds that mankind knowhow is finite because whenever he realizes new opportunities he co-discovers the world. He proposes interpretive method of phenomenological research whereby daily human experiences are understood through the meanings derived from their interpretations. Major tenets to his methodology are everyday ordinariness, lived experience, being in the world, Dasein, being with, temporality, encounters with entities and the care structure. These further enabled the development and refining of his research methodology. Additionally, his research type had an explication of the meaning of being. Another method evident is qualitative hermeneutical interpretive phenomenological approach.
Husserl employs descriptive phenomenology research method while Heidegger uses interpretive methodology to make sense of lived human experiences. Husserl predisposed that people act consciously whereby their actions are intended and steered towards a certain direction. This means that their emotions, thinking, memory as well as views are not by chance. Contrastingly, Heidegger adopted the philosophy of existing in the world rather than having knowledge about it in his hermeneutic belief ("Phenomenological Research Guidelines - Capilano University", 2018). His methodology goes beyond describing elements of experiences and intends to offer rational explanations as tow why they occur. Thus, it is clear that our existence as humans is more significant than our comprehension and consciousness. Van Manen uses Dutch approach to select and explain a phenomenon. It may take either a holistic, selective or detailed form when deriving sense from a happening. For this reason, a researcher is fully engrossed in the denotations deduced under hermeneutic interpretive perspective. Therefore, he/ she is regarded as part and parcel of the phenomenon under study. Thus, there is no need to bracket their biases or opinions before their participation in the question under scrutiny.
I believe that interpretive phenomenological research method allows the best comprehension of human experience. It guarantees a researcher the chance to rationally show the interpretation from the emic view. The method exposes daily existence of an individual either solely or as a group in the societal realm. Therefore, one may engage with other people in the world as they partake in common humanness or even group social relations and interactions. It is crystal clear that the methodology possesses the capability of understanding the normal, which is mostly ignored but viewed has having a transformational potent when an extraordinary happening is experienced. Moreover, the hermeneutical canons for research founded on the philosophy of Heidegger is a great illustration of cohesion between a philosophy and its cardinal principles. All the tenets have a unified connection with the underlying ideology of interpretive methodology in that they all focus on attaching meanings to the memories people create as they live in the world (Heidegger and Dahlstrom, 2010).
However, any researcher making use of this method should examine and evaluate their reactions and feelings towards the phenomenon being studied in order to avoid bias. Consequently, accurate data will be collected. On the other hand, Husserl's transcendental phenomenology approach has a weak quality of essentialism which has lowered its advantage. It wholly relies on descriptive deductions. Its basis is that experience is comprised of immanence and interiority as the main elements and whose understanding is vital in phenomenology.
Phenomenology aims at lessening personal experiences with an occurrence to an explanation of common essence. Any interested individual in in search for credible explanations in research, they should select a research methodology that is in unison with philosophical principles of either Heidegger or Husserl.
Davidsen, A. (2013). Phenomenological Approaches in Psychology and Health Sciences. Qualitative Research In Psychology, 10(3), 318-339. doi: 10.1080/14780887.2011.608466Heidegger, M., & Dahlstrom, D. O. (2010). Introduction to phenomenological research. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Moustakas, C. (2010). Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.
Phenomenological Research Guidelines - Capilano University. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.capilanou.ca/psychology/student-resources/research-guidelines/Phenomenological-Research-Guidelines/
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