Phenomenology & Biography - Nova Southeastern University

Report
Robin Cooper, PhD
Nova Southeastern University
Karen Wilson Scott, PhD
Idaho State University
TQR Editor Workshop presented January 8, 2011, at
The Qualitative Report 2nd Annual Conference
 Describes
the deep meaning and essence of
experiences of a phenomenon (or topic or
concept) for several individuals.
 Researcher
reduces the experiences to a
central meaning or the “essence” of the
experience (Moustakas, 1994).
Focus - understanding the essence of experiences
of a phenomenon
 Discipline of origin - Philosophy, Psychology, and
Sociology
 Data collection - Long interviews with up to 10
people
 Data analysis - Statements, meanings, meaning
themes, relay intimate understanding of
experience meaning
 Narrative form - Description of the meaning and
essence of the experience.

Source: Creswell,

Study of a single individual and his or her
experiences as told to the researcher or as found in
the documents and archival materials (Denzin,1989).

Connotes broad genre of biographical writings,
including individual biographies, autobiographies,
life histories, and oral histories (Creswell,1998).
Focus - Exploring aspect of an individual’s life
 Discipline of origin - Anthropology, Literature,
History, Psychology, and Sociology
 Data collection - Primarily interviews and
documents
 Data analysis - Stories, epiphanies, historical
content
 Narrative form - Detailed picture of an aspect of
an individual’s life.
Source: Creswell, 1998,

Select methodology that fits research
objectives
 Name 3 topics pertaining to identity
 What
objectives might fit each topic?

Phenomenology
Research Questions

Biographical Narrative
Research Questions

1.

1.

2.

2.
“Exploring the Identity of Qualitative
Researchers”
 Individually,

begin by Bracketing
Write 1-page statement of own experiences,
beliefs, attitudes of learning qualitative research
 As
Group, develop semi-structured interview
protocol
 Pairs, one interviews other about learning
qualitative research
“Exploring the Identity of Qualitative
Researchers”
 As
Group, develop unstructured interview
question with 3-4 follow-up questions
 In pairs, one interviews other about life
events leading to learning qualitative
research
 Interviewer, note any dates/times mentioned
and sequence of events.
Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen
Method
Presented by Moustakas (1994)
Researchers
collect & analyze
interview data
Qualitative
Researcher
Interviewers
Phenomenon
Prepare
Interview
Questions
Epoche – clear
mind; suspend
all interfering
with fresh
vision
Qualitative
Researcher
Participants
Cluster non-repetitive,
non-over-lapping
statements, or invariant
horizons
Synthesis of invariant
themes in the voices
of the participants
describes the texture
of the phenomenon
Transcripts are
Read
Cluster
Statements
Invariant
horizons are
clustered into
invariant themes
Labeled
Clusters are
Reduced to
Themes
Describe
Phenomenon
Texture
Imaginative
Variation – imagine
data in every possible
context or condition
Create unified
essence, composite
textural-structural
description, synthesis
of meanings
Verify & Member
Check with
Participants
Composite
Description
Expressing the
context and
conditions needed
describes the
structure of the
phenomenon
Describe
Phenomenon
Structure
Verify via
Member
Check &
write report
 Horizonalization
(what stands out?)
 Phenomenological Reduction

Omit duplicates
Activity:
 Individually, identify horizons & clusters in
own bracketing statements
 As Group, discuss & identify key elements of
structural description and essence
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Select research problem, subject, and site
Record subject’s objective events pertinent to research
problem
Triangulate events by source and point of view
Obtain subject’s interpretations in chronological order
Analyze reports in terms of internal/external validity and
internal/external criticism
Resolve validity of above, establish priority for testing
hypotheses
Test hypotheses and look for negative evidence
Organize the life history and submit to subject for reactions
Rework report in its natural sequence based on reactions
Author writes self into biography, interpreting subject’s
meaning
Filters language/verbal signs/significance
 Utilizes spoken conversations
 Implements narrative interview strategy
 Promotes storytelling format
 Requires capturing the participant’s lived
experience through the researcher’s
interpretation

 In
pairs, sketch chronology contributing to
becoming a qualitative researcher


Identify key events
Identify important experiences
 As

a group, identify themes & metaphors
Example theme: “Striving to follow the path of
another”
Consider… should I use…
 Individual or Collective description?
 Interview excerpts? How, specifically?
 Arts-based research reporting? How?
If I try to be like
someone else,
who will be like
me?
- Yiddish proverb
References
Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research
design: Choosing among the five traditions.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Denzin, N. K. (1989). Interpretive biography.
Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research
methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
For information about this presentation, please contact
Robin Cooper at [email protected] or Karen Wilson
Scott at [email protected]

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