Hermeneutic Phenomenological Research: A Practical Guide for Nurse Researchers

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SAGE Publications, May 26, 2000 - Medical - 114 pages
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Of all the qualitative research methods, none has provoked more interest among nurses than phenomenological research. As part of Pam Brink's nuts and bolts series on research methods for nurses, this volume will provide a much needed introduction to this methodology including discussions on site-access, preparation, proposal-writing, ethical issues, data collections, bias reduction, data analysis, and research publication.

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I have rarely written a review that commended the efforts of a writer. The application of hermeneutic phenomenology in a qualitative research has often been confused with grounded theory research. The similarities are close by few attributes such as attempting to derive a meaning by forming a theory. Phenomenological research is as was explicitly described in this book the process of exploring lived experiences of participants in a qualitative study. What really set a phenomenological research study apart from grounded theory are the processes of collecting and analyzing data. For example, a researcher explores the perceptions and lived experiences of participants in a research study in order to derive a meaning and an understanding. A grounded theory researcher explains the actions and interactions of participants in a research study in order to form a theory. Another difference is that the phenomenological researcher explores the experience of employees who are currently experiencing or had experienced the problem under study. A grounded theory research attempts to explain an action that has taken place in order to form a theory.
This book clearly describes the fundamental aspects of a phenomenological research without attempting to confuse the already overwhelmed first time phenomenological researcher. To collect data in a phenomenological research, the researcher conducts a face to face interview by using a tape recorder and in some cases, a protocol form. The responses garnered from participants are usually analyzed into patterns in order to form themes or a theme. The trickiest part of analyzing a response is the ability to identify the hidden pattern that exists in each response. As the patterns form, the researcher can form a theme with the patterns analyzed. The theme that is formed now gives meaning to the study. The theme can also be called an outcome or result in a qualitative research study.
The use of hermeneutics can also be confusing to those not familiar with the intricacies involved in a phenomenological research. The word hermeneutic means interpretation. This interpretation can pertain to the interpretation derived from participants' responses. The interpretation can also be coined analysis of participants' responses. The use of phenomenological psychology is another aspect of the qualitative study that social science researchers should be familiar with.
Phenomenological psychology involves human experience or existence. Edmund Husserl's concept of phenomenological psychology entails the aspect of existential experience or being in a study. The researcher can apply existential experience by exploring the perceptions and lived experiences of potential participants. The link between the key words in the book relate to how hermeneutics and psychology relate to phenomenology. When critically examined, the meaning creates a metaphorical cul-de-sac.
I recommend this book to doctoral researchers or laypeople who want to understand phenomenological research or the works of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. By applying the works of both philosophers, the book attempted (and rightly did) to bridge the understanding between hermeneutic and psychological phenomenology.
Adrian Davieson is a doctoral student at the University of Phoenix. Telephone number is 281-250-2480. Email: adavieson@email.phoenix.edu or adavieson@aol.com

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