Phenomenological research (aka the study of phenomena) is qualitative research that aims to learn more about people’s lived experiences.
Qualitative research involves gathering and analyzing non-numerical data. It’s used to gain a better understanding of people’s beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, and experiences.
A phenomenon is defined as an observable fact or event. A series of extraordinary or unusual things is called phenomena (the plural of phenomenon).
When a researcher uses this method, they first have to define the phenomenon they’re studying. Then, they use their research methods to better understand how people experience the phenomenon or how it has impacted people.
Women’s experiences in maternity wards, racism in the workplace, and how families experience end-of-life care for loved ones are some examples of themes that can be studied using phenomenological research.
How Is Phenomenological Research Carried Out?
Because phenomenological research is a qualitative research approach, it involves speaking to or observing participants. Researchers can use some or all of the methods below.
● In-depth surveys
● Focus groups
● Analyzing personal texts
● Case studies
It’s important to note that the way you carry out your phenomenological research should not lead your participants toward a particular outcome. For example, surveys and questionnaires shouldn’t include any questions that lead participants to a particular answer or idea.
To get the best results from your research, try building a good rapport with your participants. This doesn’t mean you have to become friends with them! But it does mean you should make them feel comfortable and safe so that they can share their honest experiences. This guide from Fool Proof will give you some helpful pointers.
Because it’s such a people-focused method, ethics plays a big role in phenomenological research. Researchers must consider the impact the study will have on the participants and how it will affect them as researchers.
They also need to ensure that their study is ethically sound by getting proper informed consent and making sure that the data is confidential and the participants are anonymous.
When you start your phenomenological study, we recommend thoroughly considering your research paradigm as a starting point. This is the philosophical framework on which your research is based, including ontology, epistemology, and the research framework.
Pros and Cons of Phenomenological Research
There are advantages and disadvantages to phenomenological research, but no form of research is perfect. Below, we’ve outlined some of the pros and cons.
● It’s a versatile method that can be used across a wide range of subjects.
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● It’s cost-effective and simple to carry out.
● It can remove a researcher’s preconceived ideas.
● It can help researchers get a much greater understanding of the phenomenon.
● It can help create new and more accurate theories.
● It can spread awareness about the phenomenon.
● It can be challenging to interpret the data.
● Studies can be dismissed as unreliable because it’s hard to validate people’s experiences.
● It can be easy for phenomenological studies to become biased by the researcher.
● Participants might struggle to get their points across because of issues like literacy, language barriers, and even age.
● Presenting findings can be challenging.
When Should You Use Phenomenological Research?
If you’re a researcher thinking of using phenomenology in your next study, be aware that some studies lend themselves to this style of research more than others.
You can use this type of research to find out how people perceive a certain situation or fact, or you can determine how a situation or fact has impacted them. Remember that a phenomenological study is only for qualitative research.
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