Phenomenology

Oh god, the more research method I learn, the more confused I become about how to conduct mine. 

Phenomenology is a qualitative research method that describes how human beings experience a particular phenomenon. Typically, interviews are conducted with a group of individuals who have first-hand knowledge of an event, situation, or experience.

Two types:

  1. Transcendental phenomenology: peoples meaning of a lived experience
  2. Hermeneutic phenomenology: research interprets texts to explore lived experiences

I know I mentioned how much I like it, and let me explain why. The break down of the research method for me is much easier to understand than the previous research methods we have learned. The breakdown goes something like this:

  1. First, does the question fit the research method?
  2. Second, bracketing, the research has to put aside all biases and look at the study solely from the participant’s viewpoint.
  3. Third, pick participants who have lived through the phenomenon, about five, and narrow down questions to one or two.  
  4. Fouth is data analysis, which is taking significant statements from the participants, then clustering them into themes to write a textual description of what it was like to live through the phenomenon and a structural report to tell how they lived through the event. 

For my research, taking a phenomenology approach, say I can study how children of middle school and high school experience the learning of specific writing, in particular the five-paragraph essay in comparison to first-year college writing. Would that work? 

In the article “A Phenomenological Research Design Illustrated” by Tomas Groenewald, states that Phenomenology should ignore the external world to arrive at a pure “phenomena.” Hence what was said earlier about the researcher putting aside biases and concentrating solely on the participant’s experience. For another researcher, Giorgi, phenomenological research is to “describe” as precisely as possible the phenomenon, based on the facts of people involved in the study.

Groenewald used purposive sampling in his study, which is non-probability sampling, to find participants who have experience in cooperative learning. He searched in various places, such as companies and the internet, to find candidates who meet his requirements. Then he used the snowball technique, which is asking participants if they know anyone else who would be fit for this study. I really like this technique of finding participants; it sounds reliable. 

Now what I feel would be toughest is collecting the actual data. You are working entirely with people, and besides the fact that it takes a lot of your time, these extended interviews would also take a lot of the participant’s time. I would have to find participants who are willing to give that much time. They would have to explain as much as they can about their experience for a wholesome analysis. Also, another disadvantage I feel of this study is that it heavily relies on interpretation; something could easily be misinterpreted. 

Ah, atlas, my favorite of all time, Peter Elbow. Elbow, in his article “Phenomenology of Freewriting,” talks about how freewriting is a beneficial and favorite tool of his. Before I began the discussion, Elbow presented, can I say as a student myself and teacher, freewriting furnishes good writing! It builds character and confidence and courage to just write without feeling judged; I allow my students to free-write every Friday, I call it free-write Friday, creative, I know. The things I read that my students write, sometimes I am left in awe, sometimes stunned; nonetheless, I know they enjoy letting their feelings out. 

Elbow talks about a time in his life where he wrote, just to write, all private. In a sense, it helped him, perhaps understand his feelings? Have we not all been there? Maybe some of us. There have been dark times in my own life, where I found my self scribbling on paper, words that I had not known I felt. It allows you as a writer to feel at ease, without direction, without judgment to let your natural voice flow. Now that I think about it, why didn’t I choose freewriting as a research topic and use phenomenology as a method? Can I change my topic now, is it too late? 

Freewriting for unfocused exploring is interesting. Many a time, we are required to write, like the method paper I am still working on for you, Dr. Nelson, because I am just stuck. This type of freewriting allows us to think about the topic without submitting to a specific form of writing. 

Public freewriting, I encourage all teachers to incorporate freewriting if they can. On free-write Fridays, I encourage my students to share, many love to share their feelings. But this is something that has to be taught, no one in my entire life did to for me, perhaps why so many of us don’t share our most personal moments. I love it when Peter says freewriting helps him “break free from what feels like heavy mud,” oh man, I couldn’t have said it better. 

I could go on and on about Peter’s peice, I love it so much!!!!

Works Cited

Groenewald, T. (2004) A Phenomenological Research Design Illustrated.International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 42–55.

Elbow, P. (1989) Toward a Phenomenology of Freewriting. Journal of Basic Writing, Vol. 8, No. 2

Phenomenology

Oh god, the more research method I learn, the more confused I become about how to conduct mine. 

Phenomenology is a qualitative research method that describes how human beings experience a particular phenomenon. Typically, interviews are conducted with a group of individuals who have first-hand knowledge of an event, situation, or experience.

Two types:

  1. Transcendental phenomenology: peoples meaning of a lived experience
  2. Hermeneutic phenomenology: research interprets texts to explore lived experiences

I know I mentioned how much I like it, and let me explain why. The break down of the research method for me is much easier to understand than the previous research methods we have learned. The breakdown goes something like this:

  1. First, does the question fit the research method?
  2. Second, bracketing, the research has to put aside all biases and look at the study solely from the participant’s viewpoint.
  3. Third, pick participants who have lived through the phenomenon, about five, and narrow down questions to one or two.  
  4. Fouth is data analysis, which is taking significant statements from the participants, then clustering them into themes to write a textual description of what it was like to live through the phenomenon and a structural report to tell how they lived through the event. 

For my research, taking a phenomenology approach, say I can study how children of middle school and high school experience the learning of specific writing, in particular the five-paragraph essay in comparison to first-year college writing. Would that work? 

In the article “A Phenomenological Research Design Illustrated” by Tomas Groenewald, states that Phenomenology should ignore the external world to arrive at a pure “phenomena.” Hence what was said earlier about the researcher putting aside biases and concentrating solely on the participant’s experience. For another researcher, Giorgi, phenomenological research is to “describe” as precisely as possible the phenomenon, based on the facts of people involved in the study.

Groenewald used purposive sampling in his study, which is non-probability sampling, to find participants who have experience in cooperative learning. He searched in various places, such as companies and the internet, to find candidates who meet his requirements. Then he used the snowball technique, which is asking participants if they know anyone else who would be fit for this study. I really like this technique of finding participants; it sounds reliable. 

Now what I feel would be toughest is collecting the actual data. You are working entirely with people, and besides the fact that it takes a lot of your time, these extended interviews would also take a lot of the participant’s time. I would have to find participants who are willing to give that much time. They would have to explain as much as they can about their experience for a wholesome analysis. Also, another disadvantage I feel of this study is that it heavily relies on interpretation; something could easily be misinterpreted. 

Ah, atlas, my favorite of all time, Peter Elbow. Elbow, in his article “Phenomenology of Freewriting,” talks about how freewriting is a beneficial and favorite tool of his. Before I began the discussion, Elbow presented, can I say as a student myself and teacher, freewriting furnishes good writing! It builds character and confidence and courage to just write without feeling judged; I allow my students to free-write every Friday, I call it free-write Friday, creative, I know. The things I read that my students write, sometimes I am left in awe, sometimes stunned; nonetheless, I know they enjoy letting their feelings out. 

Elbow talks about a time in his life where he wrote, just to write, all private. In a sense, it helped him, perhaps understand his feelings? Have we not all been there? Maybe some of us. There have been dark times in my own life, where I found my self scribbling on paper, words that I had not known I felt. It allows you as a writer to feel at ease, without direction, without judgment to let your natural voice flow. Now that I think about it, why didn’t I choose freewriting as a research topic and use phenomenology as a method? Can I change my topic now, is it too late? 

Freewriting for unfocused exploring is interesting. Many a time, we are required to write, like the method paper I am still working on for you, Dr. Nelson, because I am just stuck. This type of freewriting allows us to think about the topic without submitting to a specific form of writing. 

Public freewriting, I encourage all teachers to incorporate freewriting if they can. On free-write Fridays, I encourage my students to share, many love to share their feelings. But this is something that has to be taught, no one in my entire life did to for me, perhaps why so many of us don’t share our most personal moments. I love it when Peter says freewriting helps him “break free from what feels like heavy mud,” oh man, I couldn’t have said it better. 

I could go on and on about Peter’s peice, I love it so much!!!!

Works Cited

Groenewald, T. (2004) A Phenomenological Research Design Illustrated.International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 42–55.

Elbow, P. (1989) Toward a Phenomenology of Freewriting. Journal of Basic Writing, Vol. 8, No. 2