Title

A Discussion on the Relationship Between Qualitative and Philosophical Phenomenology

Format Type

Plenary

Format Type

Workshop

Start Date

14-1-2021 10:15 AM

End Date

14-1-2021 10:35 AM

Abstract

Recent discussion in qualitative research centres around what constitutes a ‘genuine’ phenomenological qualitative research method. I argue that the insistence that qualitative researchers adhere to the traditional methods and theories of phenomenological philosophers is misguided. One form of this insistence if Dan Zahavi’s proposal that qualitative researchers ought to draw from canonical phenomenological philosophical theories in pre-structuring their interviews. What I show however is that, by employing open, semi, and unstructured, interview methods, qualitative researchers seek to instill their work with freedom from presupposition. Freedom from presupposition is as a matter of fact a bona fide trait of Husserlian philosophical phenomenology, so the suggestion that researchers are contravening phenomenological orthodoxy by not adhering to canon is contradictory. Moreover, the canonical phenomenological tradition is populated primarily by white, upper-class, Judeo-Christian, European males living in the first half of the twentieth century. A noteworthy absence from the canon is discussions of class, race, sexuality, or gender; themes that have been given a much more extensive treatment by qualitative phenomenological researchers. Given the tendency of implicit biases towards race, gender, sexuality, criminality, etc., there’s probably even a good reason to begin some qualitative studies with a limited amount of traditional phenomenological theoretical background. I finish by pointing out that it is not adherence to the theories and methods of prior practitioners that justifies the moniker ‘phenomenology.’ Qualitative research methods still qualify as phenomenological if they develop their own set of theoretical terms, traditions, and methods instead of importing them from philosophical phenomenology.

Comments

I have ticked 'not previously submitted'. I assume this means 'not submitted to the conference before.' The paper I intend to present is a section from an article currently under at the Revise and Resubmit stage at the TQR journal and so has been submitted there.

ORCID ID

0000-0002-1182-4780

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COinS
 
Jan 14th, 10:15 AM Jan 14th, 10:35 AM

A Discussion on the Relationship Between Qualitative and Philosophical Phenomenology

Recent discussion in qualitative research centres around what constitutes a ‘genuine’ phenomenological qualitative research method. I argue that the insistence that qualitative researchers adhere to the traditional methods and theories of phenomenological philosophers is misguided. One form of this insistence if Dan Zahavi’s proposal that qualitative researchers ought to draw from canonical phenomenological philosophical theories in pre-structuring their interviews. What I show however is that, by employing open, semi, and unstructured, interview methods, qualitative researchers seek to instill their work with freedom from presupposition. Freedom from presupposition is as a matter of fact a bona fide trait of Husserlian philosophical phenomenology, so the suggestion that researchers are contravening phenomenological orthodoxy by not adhering to canon is contradictory. Moreover, the canonical phenomenological tradition is populated primarily by white, upper-class, Judeo-Christian, European males living in the first half of the twentieth century. A noteworthy absence from the canon is discussions of class, race, sexuality, or gender; themes that have been given a much more extensive treatment by qualitative phenomenological researchers. Given the tendency of implicit biases towards race, gender, sexuality, criminality, etc., there’s probably even a good reason to begin some qualitative studies with a limited amount of traditional phenomenological theoretical background. I finish by pointing out that it is not adherence to the theories and methods of prior practitioners that justifies the moniker ‘phenomenology.’ Qualitative research methods still qualify as phenomenological if they develop their own set of theoretical terms, traditions, and methods instead of importing them from philosophical phenomenology.