What Is Phenomenology Approach in Research?


Diego Sanchez

Phenomenology Approach in Research

Phenomenology is a qualitative research approach used to understand how individuals experience a particular phenomenon. This approach focuses on exploring the subjective experiences of individuals rather than objective reality. The main goal of phenomenology is to uncover the essence of the experience, which is often hidden beneath surface-level observations.

What is Phenomenology?

Phenomenology was first developed by the German philosopher Edmund Husserl in the early 20th century. It is based on the idea that our experiences are shaped by our perceptions and interpretations of the world around us. Husserl believed that by studying these experiences, we could gain a deeper understanding of how people perceive and interpret their surroundings.

In a phenomenological study, researchers typically conduct in-depth interviews with participants to explore their subjective experiences of a particular phenomenon. These interviews are often open-ended, meaning that participants are free to share their thoughts and feelings without being constrained by specific questions.

The Key Features of Phenomenology

There are several key features that distinguish phenomenology from other research approaches:

1. Bracketing

Bracketing involves setting aside preconceived notions or biases about a particular phenomenon in order to better understand it from an objective perspective. In other words, researchers must put aside any assumptions they may have about what they think they already know about the topic.

2. Intentionality

Intentionality refers to the fact that every experience has an intentional object – something that it is directed towards or aimed at. For example, if someone experiences fear, there must be something causing them to feel afraid.

3. Phenomenological Reduction

Phenomenological reduction involves stripping away all unnecessary details or distractions in order to focus solely on the essential aspects of an experience.

4. Empathy

Empathy is an essential aspect of phenomenology, as it requires researchers to put themselves in the shoes of the participants and try to understand their experiences from their perspective.

The Advantages of Phenomenology

Phenomenology has several advantages over other research approaches, including:

  • It allows for a deeper understanding of how individuals experience a particular phenomenon.
  • It can be used to explore complex or abstract concepts that are difficult to quantify.
  • It is particularly useful for exploring subjective experiences, such as emotions or personal beliefs.

The Disadvantages of Phenomenology

There are also some disadvantages to using phenomenology in research, including:

  • It can be time-consuming and require a lot of resources to conduct in-depth interviews with participants.
  • It can be difficult to generalize findings from a phenomenological study to larger populations or broader contexts.
  • There is a risk of bias if the researcher’s own experiences or beliefs influence their interpretation of the data.


Phenomenology is a valuable research approach that allows us to gain insight into how individuals experience and interpret the world around them. By focusing on subjective experiences rather than objective reality, researchers can uncover hidden insights and gain a deeper understanding of complex phenomena. However, it is important for researchers to remain aware of potential biases and limitations when using this approach.