Study of Phenomenology Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

equal amount of studies are conducted using qualitative methodologies. Each of the approaches has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Quantitative research involves a numerical approach with quantitative data abounding. Qualitative research involves an approach that calls for a more thought or ideal process focusing on the participant's perceptions, ideals and feelings. Phenomenology certainly falls into the qualitative approach to research. As one recent study determined "phenomenology is a qualitative method of inquiry in which researchers attempt to discover the meaning of lived experiences by human beings as they exist in the world" (Chamberlain, 2009, p. 52).

In conducting an interview like the one for this paper, the author used a phenomenological approach and was rewarded accordingly, and it did lead to some reflective questions. One of the first questions that popped to mind was "how did this woman feel once she had gone through such an experience?" It seems that phenomenological research is perfect for answering such a question. Interviewing the lady involved and listening to her story offered a lesson in objective intensity that was quite engrossing.

The reason the story was so engrossing was due to a number of factors. The factors (as will be expounded upon in the following passages) are what make phenomenology research so compelling and effective. The interview begins with a female in her mid thirties describing what should have been a joyous occasion. Her story began whilst she was in the hospital giving birth to her sixth child.

For the first time, however, the birthing process was not going well. It was an exhausting situation, and finally the doctor decided that a cesarian section (c-section) would have to be employed instead of a natural birth, the method she had used during the previous five births. The baby was delivered and all seemed well.

Matters changed however after the second night in the hospital. The lady began to experience a choking sensation and quickly called for the nurse. The nurse checked her blood pressure, noticed it was running a little high, but assumed it was due to the recent birthing process. When the mother was released from the hospital she discovered that she could not either lay flat or sleep without experiencing tadrowning sensation. She returned to the hospital and was told that she had elevated blood pressure but they again sent her home. Another couple of days passed by and her circumstances did not get any better. She noticed that her hands and feet were very swollen and had her ddaughter 911 for an ambulance. She was immediately placed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and was infomred that she was in hearet failure. After a couple of days filled with various treatments and medications she was once again released and sent home. Her cardiologist later told her that her heart was functioning at less than 18% and that she was near death at that time.

What a riveting story. This type of situation is one that pleads for a phenomenological approach. As one recent study determined "by gaining a description of the experience as lived, phenomenology aims to reveal the essential meaning of the phenomenon under study instead of creating abstract theories about the phenomenon through methods of quantification" (Gee, Lowenthal, Cayne, 2013, p. 52).

In other words, the researcher through phenomenological research would more likely discover the essential meaning of the research rather than discover the scientific quantification of the research. In some cases, quantitative research makes sense, but when attempting to discover or empathize with an individual experience such as the once described herein, phenomenology is a much more effective and comprehensive approach.

There are other reasons why the phenomenological approach works as effectively as it does in certain situations. One reason is because oftentimes the researcher will be compelled to take copious notes throughout the interview process. Additionally, the researcher might also tape the interview. Notes and recordings are examples of how the researcher can then go back and replay or rethink the interview in an effort to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the circumstances. One study found that the researchers' "exploratory notes were made regarding how the participants described their thoughts and experiences, the language they used and the concepts that began to emerge" (Stewart, Rae, 2013, p. 25). These exploratory notes "were transformed into concise, clear themes and given names" (p. 25). What was extremely interesting regarding the Stewart and Rae study however, was that they determined that "the credibility of a qualitative study is judged by if the findings represent some type of truth or validity" (p. 25). This author found that statement to be intriguing in that the question could be asked, isn't that what every study is seeking? How then does the qualitative and quantitative study differ? The phenomenological study differs in that a deeper understanding of the participant's feelings, thoughts, and perceptions are accessible to the researcher .

Additionally what the researcher found was that the interview process and the phenomenological approach can be used in a wide array of scenarios and any number of settings, including (but certainly not limited to): education, nursing, medical, and business. One particularly interesting study helped to determine that "live supervision provides an opportunity for counselors to connect personal beliefs and theoretical concepts in practice" (Moody, Kostohryz, Vereen, 2014, p. 19). In other words, a counselor who regularly interacts with students can use phenomenological research that "creates a forum in which individuals learning to become group leaders can draw from the knowledge of a supervisor and integrate this with their personal experiences and beliefs" (Moody et al., p. 19). Of course, Moody et al. also goes on to explain that "the interplay of individual learning constructs and group leader development within the lived experience of the students lends itself to studying the processes that unfold through live supervision" (p. 20).

Most researchers are quite capable of understanding numerical data as well as perceptions thoughts and ideals. However, if one truly desires to get to the truth of the matter, at least regarding participant's thoughts and perceptions, then the researcher surely must consider the much more engaging aspects of phenomenological research.As one recent study extrapolated "the best way to evaluate the quality of qualitative studies has been debated intensively" (Rocha, 2012, p. 16). This is true, and certainly phenomenlogical research is not viable in every instance. However, during an interview process such as the one described herein, the criteria for research begged for a more in-depth approach than numerical aspects can usually provide.

As Rocha states "the great theoretical and methodological diversity of qualitative approaches suggests that a single set of criteria may not be appropriate for all types of research" (p. 16). In fact, this researcher now understands that criteria for qualitative research is of course needed in a qualitative study, otherwise how could the methodology be determined in the first place? As Rocha explains "there are various issues that can cause doubt, including criteria for rigour in qualitative research" (p. 17).

Developing an understanding for intensive interview remarks and stories is a perfect example of why phenomenological researcher is quite valuable and viable in certain scenarios. If one was to undertake a study (for example) of why men who have committed crimes are more likely to return to prison, one would first determine through the possible use of quantitative research the amount of men who having once been convicted and imprisoned, return to that environment. If the quantitative research determines that the number was large enough, then a qualitative research study could be undertaken to determine why those men committed crimes again, and sometimes again and again. The phenomenological study would allow for an even more in-depth study by concentrating on a small group or class of men that were once imprisoned and…

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