What Are the Basic Concept of Hermeneutic Phenomenology?


Jane Flores

Hermeneutic phenomenology is a qualitative research approach that aims to understand the meaning and essence of human experiences. This approach is based on the philosophical traditions of hermeneutics and phenomenology, which prioritize interpretation and subjective experience, respectively. In this article, we will explore the basic concepts of hermeneutic phenomenology and how they can guide qualitative research.


Hermeneutics is the study of interpretation, particularly the interpretation of texts. It emphasizes the role of context and language in shaping meaning.

In hermeneutic phenomenology, researchers use interpretive methods to unpack the meaning of participants’ experiences. This involves examining participants’ stories, descriptions, and expressions to uncover underlying themes and patterns.


Phenomenology is a philosophical approach that focuses on describing subjective experience as it is lived. It emphasizes the importance of individual perception and consciousness in shaping our understanding of the world. In hermeneutic phenomenology, researchers aim to describe participants’ experiences in detail to gain insight into their unique perspectives.

Hermeneutic Circle

The hermeneutic circle is an important concept in hermeneutics that refers to the relationship between parts and wholes in interpretation. It suggests that we must understand individual parts in relation to their broader context to fully grasp their meaning. In hermeneutic phenomenology, researchers use this concept to guide their analysis by examining individual experiences within the context of broader cultural, social, and historical factors.


Bracketing is a technique used in phenomenological research that involves setting aside preconceptions or assumptions about a phenomenon. This allows researchers to approach participants’ experiences with an open mind and without imposing their own biases. In hermeneutic phenomenology, bracketing helps ensure that researchers are not imposing their own interpretations on participants’ experiences.

Horizonal Analysis

Horizonal analysis is a method used in hermeneutic phenomenology that involves examining the various layers of meaning in participants’ experiences. This includes not only the content of their descriptions but also the emotions, cultural beliefs, and social contexts that shape their experiences. Horizonal analysis helps researchers gain a deeper understanding of the complex factors that influence participants’ experiences.

Thematic Analysis

Thematic analysis is a common method used in qualitative research to identify patterns or themes in data. In hermeneutic phenomenology, thematic analysis involves identifying recurring themes or patterns in participants’ descriptions and stories. These themes may relate to emotions, beliefs, cultural norms, or other factors that shape participants’ experiences.

In conclusion, hermeneutic phenomenology is a valuable approach for understanding the meaning and essence of human experiences. By using interpretive methods to examine individual experiences within broader social and cultural contexts, researchers can gain insight into the complex factors that shape our perceptions and understanding of the world around us. With proper use of techniques like bracketing, horizonal analysis and thematic analysis, researchers can develop a rich understanding that goes beyond surface-level descriptions to reveal deeper insights into our subjective experience.