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.

Data Analysis and Interpretation

  • Philosophical Underpinnings of Heidegger and Gadamer 114
  • Identifying the Phenomenon of Interest 115
  • Uncovering Pre-Understanding 115
  • Preparing for the Interpretation with a Hermeneutic Stance 116
  • Challenges Facing the Novice 118
  • Enacting Interpretation of Texts 118
    • Starting with transcribing interviews 119
    • Beginning phase of interpretation 119
    • Writing interpretive summaries 122
    • Dwelling with the data 125
    • Bubbling up 127
    • Hermeneutic circle and converging conversations 127
    • Fusion of horizons 128
    • Producing an output 128
  • Alternative Approaches to Analysis 129
    • Analytical teams of Diekelmann and Ironside 129
    • Patricia Benner's interpretive phenomenology 131
    • Elizabeth Smythe's crafting stories 131
  • Further Resources 132

Chapter Overview

In this chapter, we describe the various processes of data analysis and interpretation, which are integrally woven activities grounded in philosophical hermeneutics. The data in a hermeneutic study may consist of various representations of experience, including audio-recordings, written text, observational ...

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