Hermeneutic phenomenology is an approach traditionally used in nursing and health but which is now seeing more pick up in other human-centred disciplines including pyschology, education and sociology. It explores individuals' lived experience and considers how this can be used to understand motivation and engagement. Many of the books in this space are extremely dense and focus on the philosophy and theory rather than applied practice. They also tend to be self-referential and inward facing; they do not try to make the field accessible to new researchers and students. This book is designed to be used by MA and PhD students as well as by early career academics who need an easy introduction to best practice. The authors set out the advantages and disadvantages of the methodology using real world (published) case studies. The book carefully combines philosophy, methodology and method. The key philosophers of phenomenology are presented and explored, and the translation of philosophy into research theory is explained by experienced hermeneutic phenomenological researchers. They then demonstrate explicit ways in which the methodology underpins researchers' choices and how this is translated when designing hermeneutic studies. The book is structured around the research process with chapters mapping each step from design all the way through to dissemination. It will take students step-by-step through their research projects as well as helping them to critique their own work and research output from other scholars. There has been a resurgence in publishing hermeneutic phenomenological titles with three new competitor titles publishing in recent years. One of these titles ties theory to practice but it is still very philosophical and is not a teaching text - the author includes high level discussions of complex research and assumes significant prior knowledge. We don't have much in this space, there is an Inc title Cohen et al. Hermeneutic Phenomenological Research (2000), and several books with chapters covering this topic. The proposed book is much more focused than Smith's Interpretative Phenomenological bestseller but it fills a gap in our coverage.

Coming to Thinking

  • Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) 16
  • Hermeneutic Phenomenology 19
  • Key Heideggerian Ideas 20
    • Dasein 20
    • Thrownness 21
    • Ready-at-hand/unready-at-hand 21
    • Authenticity 22
    • Technology 22
    • Language 23
    • Time 23
    • Being-toward-death 24
  • Key Gadamerian Ideas 25
    • Fusion of horizons 25
    • Art 26
  • Other Interpretive Phenomenological Approaches 26
    • Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis 27
    • Critical approaches 27
  • Further Resources 29
  • Part I Summary 30

Chapter Overview

This chapter will help you to understand what it means to think hermeneutically. It underscores the historical philosophical descriptions that are particular to hermeneutic phenomenology. Key Heideggerian and Gadamerian ideas are further explicated, emphasising the interpretive nature of the work that includes an integration of researcher perspectives and the self-showing of research phenomena. Such interpretation of experience as lived is unique to hermeneutic phenomenology. Descriptions, analogies and references to hermeneutic scholars of today are also highlighted in this chapter and ...

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