What Is Phenomenology Research?


Vincent White

Phenomenology research is a philosophical approach that studies subjective experiences as they appear in consciousness. The aim of this research is to describe and understand the essence of these experiences, without reducing them to objective or scientific categories. In other words, phenomenology research seeks to explore the meaning and significance of lived experiences, rather than their causes or effects.

What is Phenomenology?
Phenomenology is a branch of philosophy developed by Edmund Husserl in the early 20th century. It is concerned with the study of consciousness and subjective experience, rather than external reality or objective facts. According to phenomenologists, our experiences are not just passive reflections of the world around us, but active constructions that shape our understanding of reality.

The Key Features of Phenomenology Research
Phenomenology research has several key features that distinguish it from other approaches to studying human experience:

  • Intentionality: Phenomena are always directed towards something, whether it is an object, an idea, a feeling, or a sensation.
  • Bracketing: Researchers must set aside their preconceptions and biases in order to focus on the pure experience itself.
  • Eidetic Variation: Researchers explore the essential features of a phenomenon by examining different variations or instances of it.
  • Descriptive Inquiry: Researchers use language to describe and articulate their findings, rather than relying on quantitative data or statistics.

Applications of Phenomenology Research

Phenomenology research has numerous applications across different fields such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, and healthcare. Some examples include:

Patient Experience Research

In healthcare settings, phenomenology research can be used to explore patients’ experiences with illness and treatment. By understanding how patients perceive their symptoms and the impact of their condition on their daily lives, healthcare providers can develop more patient-centered approaches to care.

Exploring Social Phenomena

Phenomenology research can be used to explore social phenomena such as identity, culture, and social relations. By examining how individuals experience these phenomena in their daily lives, researchers can gain insights into the subjective meanings and significance of these concepts.

Investigating Consciousness

Phenomenology research has been used to investigate altered states of consciousness such as meditation, hypnosis, and psychedelic experiences. By exploring the subjective experiences of individuals in these states, researchers can gain insights into the nature of consciousness itself.

In conclusion, phenomenology research provides a unique approach to studying human experience that emphasizes the subjective meanings and significance of lived experiences. Through careful description and exploration of the essential features of different phenomena, phenomenologists seek to deepen our understanding of ourselves and our world.