Bracketing in Phenomenology Research: An Insightful Guide
Phenomenology is a qualitative research approach that explores the subjective experiences of individuals. It involves understanding how people perceive and interpret the world around them.
Bracketing is a crucial aspect of phenomenological research that helps researchers to separate their preconceptions and biases from their interpretations of participants’ experiences. In this article, we will delve deep into what bracketing means in phenomenology research.
What is Bracketing?
Bracketing is a process that involves setting aside all preconceptions, beliefs, and biases that a researcher may have about the topic under investigation. It is an attempt to remain open-minded and unbiased towards the participant’s experiences. Bracketing enables researchers to explore the phenomenon as it appears to the participant, rather than through their own filters.
Why is Bracketing Important?
The purpose of bracketing is to eliminate any potential bias or preconceived notions a researcher has regarding a particular phenomenon. By bracketing, researchers can better understand how participants experience and interpret their world without imposing their own beliefs or values onto them.
Imagine a researcher wants to study how people experience grief after the loss of a loved one. If the researcher has experienced significant grief themselves, they may unintentionally impose their own experiences onto those they are studying. By bracketing their own experiences, they can avoid imposing their personal view on the data collected.
How Does One Practice Bracketing?
Practicing bracketing involves identifying any preconceived notions or assumptions you may have about your research topic before beginning your study. Researchers can then work consciously towards setting these aside during data collection and analysis.
Suppose we continue with our example of studying grief after losing a loved one. The researcher should identify any assumptions they may have about grief, such as that it is a linear process, or that people will eventually “move on” from the loss. By acknowledging these assumptions, the researcher can consciously work towards setting them aside during data collection.
Bracketing is an essential aspect of phenomenological research. It allows researchers to collect data without imposing their own beliefs or biases onto the participant’s experiences.
By practicing bracketing, researchers can obtain a more accurate understanding of how individuals experience and interpret their world. So, if you’re conducting phenomenological research, remember to practice bracketing to ensure that your findings accurately reflect the participants’ experiences.