• hermeneutic-phenomenology;
  • interpretive inquiry;
  • research;
  • nursing knowledge development;
  • nursing practice

Hermeneutic-phenomenology: providing living knowledge for nursing practice

The phenomenological approach has gained popularity among nurse researchers as an alternative investigative method to those used in the natural sciences. As more nurse scholars and nurse researchers utilize phenomenology as a research approach, it becomes critical to examine the implications this may have for nursing knowledge development and for the utilization of that knowledge in practice. In this paper, an examination of the results of phenomenological inquiry is presented and compared with the types of knowledge considered important for nursing by Carper and White. It is clear that phenomenology contributes to empirical, moral, aesthetic, personal, and socio-political knowledge development. Its contribution is not in developing predictive and prescriptive theory, but in revealing the nature of human experience. Although interpretive inquiry, such as hermeneutic phenomenology, does not prescribe action for use in clinical practice, it does influence a thoughtful reflective attentive practice by its revealing of the meanings of human experience.