Ravi was a novice, finding it difficult to select the right research design for his study. He joined a program to improve his understanding of research. As a part of his assignment, he was asked to work with a phenomenological research design. To execute good practices in his work, Ravi studied examples of phenomenological research. This let him understand what approaches he needed and areas he could apply the phenomenological method.
What Is Phenomenological Research?
A qualitative research approach that helps in describing the lived experiences of an individual is known as phenomenological research. The phenomenological method focuses on studying the phenomena that have impacted an individual. This approach highlights the specifics and identifies a phenomenon as perceived by an individual in a situation. It can also be used to study the commonality in the behaviors of a group of people.
Phenomenological research has its roots in psychology, education and philosophy. Its aim is to extract the purest data that hasn’t been attained before. Sometimes researchers record personal notes about what they learn from the subjects. This adds to the credibility of data, allowing researchers to remove these influences to produce unbiased narratives. Through this method, researchers attempt to answer two major questions:
- What are the subject’s experiences related to the phenomenon?
- What factors have influenced the experience of the phenomenon?
A researcher may also use observations, art and documents to construct a universal meaning of experiences as they establish an understanding of the phenomenon. The richness of the data obtained in phenomenological research opens up opportunities for further inquiry.
Now that we know what is phenomenological research, let’s look at some methods and examples.
Phenomenological Research Method
Phenomenological research can be based on single case studies or a pool of samples. Single case studies identify system failures and discrepancies. Data from multiple samples highlights many possible situations. In either case, these are the methods a researcher can use:
- The researcher can observe the subject or access written records, such as texts, journals, poetry, music or diaries
- They can conduct conversations and interviews with open-ended questions, which allow researchers to make subjects comfortable enough to open up
- Action research and focus workshops are great ways to put at ease candidates who have psychological barriers
To mine deep information, a researcher must show empathy and establish a friendly rapport with participants. These kinds of phenomenological research methods require researchers to focus on the subject and avoid getting influenced.
Examples Of Phenomenological Research
Phenomenological research is a way to understand individual situations in detail. The theories are developed transparently, with the evidence available for a reader to access. We can use this methodology in situations such as:
- The experiences of every war survivor or war veteran are unique. Research can illuminate their mental states and survival strategies in a new world.
- Losing family members to Covid-19 hasn’t been easy. A detailed study of survivors and people who’ve lost loved ones can help understand coping mechanisms and long-term traumas.
- What’s it like to be diagnosed with a terminal disease when a person becomes a parent? The conflict of birth and death can’t be generalized, but research can record emotions and experiences.
Phenomenological research is a powerful way to understand personal experiences. It provides insights into individual actions and motivations by examining long-held assumptions. New theories, policies and responses can be developed on this basis. But, the phenomenological research design will be ineffective if subjects are unable to communicate due to language, age, cognition or other barriers. Managers must be alert to such limitations and sharp to interpret results without bias.
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