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Keywords:

  • Heidegger;
  • hermeneutics;
  • Husserl;
  • nursing;
  • phenomenology;
  • qualitative research

Introduced as an alternative to empirical science, phenomenology offers nursing an insightful means for understanding nursing phenomena specifically in relation to lived experiences. However, not all phenomenologies were created equal, a point which has left many a nursing researcher not only confused. Furthermore, this confusion might result in the choosing of a philosophical framework that is neither cognizant with the research question nor the epistemological lens through which the researcher operates. Drawing on common nursing examples to illustrate concepts, the authors closely examine and debate the disparities between Husserl's transcendental phenomenology and Heidegger's hermeneutic approach to phenomenology. The aim of the article is to demystify the dense language used and present the fundamental beliefs of each philosopher in a format that is accessible to novice phenomenologists.