What Is Phenomenology in Research in Your Own Words?


Jane Flores

Phenomenology is a research approach that involves studying human experiences and perceptions. This method aims to understand how individuals interpret and make sense of the world around them. In essence, phenomenology is concerned with subjective experiences rather than objective reality.

What Is Phenomenology?

Phenomenology is a philosophical tradition that began in the late 19th century with the work of Edmund Husserl. It was then developed further by other philosophers such as Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Jean-Paul Sartre. The central idea behind phenomenology is to describe and analyze people’s lived experiences as they are perceived and understood by them.

Phenomenological Research Method

In research, phenomenology involves gathering data about participants’ subjective experiences through methods such as interviews, focus groups, or observation. The goal is to identify common themes or patterns in participants’ experiences. Researchers then analyze this data by using descriptive language to articulate the essential features of those experiences.

Key Features of Phenomenological Research

There are several key features of phenomenological research that distinguish it from other research methods:

  • Focuses on subjective experience
  • Seeks to understand how people interpret their experiences
  • Emphasizes description over explanation or prediction
  • Aims to uncover the essential qualities of an experience
  • Avoids preconceptions or assumptions about the experience being studied
  • Uses language that reflects participants’ own words and meanings

Applications of Phenomenological Research

Phenomenological research has been used in various fields such as psychology, sociology, nursing, education, and business. It allows researchers to gain insight into people’s experiences and perspectives, which can be valuable for understanding human behavior and improving services or products.

In psychology, phenomenological research can be used to explore the experience of mental illness or the impact of trauma on individuals’ lives. In nursing, it can help to understand patients’ experiences of illness or the caregiving process. In education, it can provide insights into students’ learning experiences and how they make sense of their educational environment.


Phenomenology is a research approach that emphasizes understanding subjective experiences by describing them in detail. It provides a unique perspective on how people interpret and make sense of their world. Phenomenological research has many applications across various fields and is a valuable tool for gaining insight into human experience.