Issues in phenomenology for researchers of nursing


  • Melanie A. Jasper BNurs BA RGN RM RHV PGCEA

    1. Senior Lecturer, School of Health Studies, University of Portsmouth, Education Centre, St James Hospital, Lorhay Road, Porfsmouth PO4 8LD, Hampshire, England
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Nursing today, with its individualistic approach to care, shares many of its underlying beliefs and values with the school of philosophical thought known as phenomenology. The research method derived from phenomenology considers that the true meaning of phenomena can only be explored through the experience of them as described by the individual. This paper explores the features of phenomenology as a research method in relation to its relevance for nursing by first discussing the philosophical underpinnings of the method, and then proceeding to an examination of the features of the method with relation to research design, and data analysis. The specific issues of validity and generalizability are developed further, with reference to the criticisms levelled at the phenomenological method from the alternative quantitative paradigm. Finally, the author discusses the relevance of phenomenology for nursing, and concludes that, as a research method within the qualitative paradigm, it has a great deal to offer nursing as a humanistic discipline.