This paper describes a phenomenological study in which the authors explored students’ experiences learning qualitative research in a variety of academic fields. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with six participants from various academic fields who had completed at least one post-secondary-school-level qualitative research course and who were not students of the researchers. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), the researchers identified five primary themes representing the lived experience and meaning found in the participants’ experience of learning qualitative research: (a) a variety of feelings are experienced, (b) a pivotal experience serves as a catalyst in the learning process, (c) the central role of story, (d) active learning, and (e) relating learning to prior knowledge. The findings both support and contribute new aspects to the knowledge of this experience. The results also point to “building connections” as the essence of the phenomenon of learning qualitative research.


qualitative research, learning experience, phenomenology

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