You are here

Using phenomenological research methods in qualitative health research

Journal Name:

Publication Year:

Author NameUniversity of Author
Abstract (2. Language): 
Investigators who use phenomenological approaches to understand experiences of human healing, caring, and wholeness need to consider the differences that exist between descriptive and hermeneutic phenomenology. In this article, these two approaches are compared and contrasted with respect to roots, similarities, and differences. Guidelines are offered to assist prospective investigators in selecting the approach most suitable to personal cognitive style and beliefs about the ways humans experience and find meanings during transitions through wellness and illness to advance health knowledge in a holistic view.



Beck, C. T. (1992). The lived experience of postpartum depression: A phenomenological study.
Nursing Research, 41(3), 705-713.
Benner, P. (1994). Hermeneutic phenomenology: A methodology for family health and health
promotion study in nursing. In P. Benner (Ed.), Interpretive phenomenology: Embodiment, caring,
and ethics in health and illness (pp. 71-72). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Benoist, J. (2003). Husserl and Bonzano. In M. T. Tymieniceka (Ed.), Phenomenology world-wide.
Foundations-expanding dynamics-life-engagements. A guide for research and study (pp. 94-97). London:
Kluwer Academic.
Broussard, B. B. (2005). Women’s experiences of bulimia nervosa. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 49(1),
Caelli, K. (2001). Engaging with phenomenology: Is it more of a challenge than it needs to be?
Qualitative Health Research, 11(2), 273-281.
Campbell, R. (2001). Heidegger: Truth as Aletheia. In R. Small (Ed.), A hundred years of phenomenology:
Perspectives on a philosophical tradition (pp. 73-89). Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
Clark, A. (1998). The qualitative-quantitative debate: Moving from positivism and confrontation to
postpositivism and reconciliation. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 27, 1242-1249.
Colaizzi, P. F. (1978). Psychological research as the phenomenologist views it. In R. S. Valle & M.
King (Eds.), Existential phenomenological alternatives for psychology (pp. 48-71). New York:
Cowling, W. R., 3rd. (2000). Healing and appreciating wholeness. Advances in Nursing Science, 22(3),
Crotty, M. (1997). Tradition and culture in Heidegger’s being and time. Nursing Inquiry, 4(2), 88-98.
Darbyshire, P., Diekelman, J., & Diekelman, N. (1999). Reading Heidegger and interpretive
phenomenology: A response to the work of Michael Crotty. Nursing Inquiry, 6(1), 17-25.
Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1998). Introduction: Entering the field of qualitative research. In
N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Strategies of qualitative inquiry (pp. 1-35). Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage.
Deutscher, M. (2001). Husserl’s transcendental subjectivity. In R. Small (Ed.), A hundred years of
phenomenology. Perspectives on a philosophical tradition (pp. 3-25). Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
Diekelman, N. L., Allen, D., & Tanner, C. (1989). The NLN criteria for appraisal of baccalaureate
programs: A critical hermeneutic analysis. New York: National League for Nursing.
Draucker, C. B. (1999). The critique of Heideggerian hermeneutical nursing research. Journal of
Advanced Nursing, 30(2), 360-373.
Embree, L. (1997). What is phenomenology. In L. Embree, E. A. Behnke, D. Carr, J. C. Evans, & J.
Huertas-Jourda et al. (Eds.), The encyclopedia of phenomenology (Vol. 18, pp. 1-10). Boston:
Kluwer Academic.
Geanellos, R. (1998). Hermeneutic philosophy. Part I: Implications of its use as methodology in
interpretive nursing research. Nursing Inquiry, 5(3), 154-163.
Giorgi, A. (1970). Psychology as a human science. A phenomenologically based approach. New York: Harper &
Giorgi, A. (1999). The status of Husserlian phenomenology in caring research. Scandinavian Journal of
Caring Sciences, 14, 3-10.
Giorgi, A. (2000a). Concerning the application of phenomenology to caring research. Scandinavian
Journal of Caring Sciences, 14, 11-15.
Giorgi, A. (2000b). The status of Husserlian phenomenology in caring research. Scandinavian Journal
of Caring Sciences, 14(1), 3-10.
Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and time (J. Macquarrie & E. Robinson, Trans.). New York: Harper &
Row. Husserl, E. (1970). Logical investigations (J. N. Findlay, Trans.). New York: Humanities
Husserl, E. (2001). Analyses concerning passive and active synthesis: lectures on transcendental logic (A. J.
Steinbeck, Trans.). Boston: Kluwer Academic.
Koch, T. (1995). Interpretive approaches in nursing research: The influence of Husserl and
Heidegger. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 21, 827-836.
Koloroutis, M. (2004). Relationship-based care: A model for transforming practice. Minneapolis, MN:
Creative Health Care Management.
LeVasseur, J. J. (2003). The problem of bracketing in phenomenology. Qualitative Health Research,
13(3), 408-420.
Lopez, K. A., & Willis, D. G. (2004). Descriptive versus interpretive phenomenology: Their
contributions to nursing knowledge. Qualitative Health Research, 14(5), 726-735.
Luft, S. (2003). Husserl’s notion of the natural attitude and the shift to transcendental
phenomenology. In M. T. Tymieniceka (Ed.), Phenomenology world-wide. Foundations-expanding
dynamics-life-engagements. A guide for research and study (pp. 114-119). London: Kluwer
Maggs-Rapport, F. (2000). Combining methodological approaches in research: ethnography and
interpretive phenomenology. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 31(1), 219-225.
Mish, S. (2002). Phenomenology. In S. Mich (Ed.), The MerriamWebster’s collegiate dictionary (10th ed.,
p. 869). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.
Moran, D. (2000). Introduction to phenomenology. London: Routledge.
Orbanic, S. D. (1999). The Heideggerian view of person: A perspective conducive to the
therapeutic encounter. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 13(3), 137-144.
Paley, J. (1997). Husserl, phenomenology and nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 26(1), 187-193.
Paley, J. (1998). Misinterpretive phenomenology: Heidegger, ontology and nursing research. Journal
of Advanced Nursing, 27(4), 817-824.
Paley, J. (2005). Phenomenology as rhetoric. Nursing Inquiry, 12(2), 106-116.
Parse, R. R. (1998). The human becoming school of thought: A perspective for nurses and other health
professionals. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Parse, R. R. (1999). Nursing science: the transformation of practice. Journal of Advanced Nursing,
30(6), 1383-1387.
Swanson, K. M., & Wojnar, D. (2004). Optimal healing environments in nursing. Journal of
Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10, S43–S48.
Swanson-Kauffman, K. M. (1986). Caring in the instance of unexpected early pregnancy loss. Topics
in Clinical Nursing, 8(2), 37-46.
Swanson-Kauffman, K. M., & Schonwald, E. (1988). Phenomenology. In B. Sarter (Ed.), Paths to
knowledge: Innovative research methods for nursing (pp. 97-105). New York: National League for
Tymieniecka, M. T. (2003). Introduction: Phenomenology as the inspirational force of our times. In
M. T. Tymieniecka (Ed.), Phenomenology world-wide. Foundations-expanding dynamicslifeengagements.
A guide for research and study (pp. 1-10). London: Kluwer Academic.
Van der Zalm, J. E., & Bergum, V. (2000). Hermeneutic phenomenology: Providing living
knowledge for nursing practice. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 31(1), 211-218.
van Manen, M. (1997). Researching lived experience. London, Canada: Althouse Press.
Wall, C., Glenn, S., & Mitchinson, S., & Poole, H. (2004). Using reflective diary to develop
bracketing skills during a phenomenological investigation. Nurse Researcher, 11(4), 20-29.
Watson, J. (1999). Postmodern nursing and beyond. London: Churchill Livingstone.
Wojnar, D. M. (2005). Miscarriage experiences of lesbian birth and social mothers. Doctoral dissertation,
University of Washington, Seattle. Available at ProQuest Digital Dissertations, AAT No.

Thank you for copying data from