Using hermeneutic phenomenology and the ethnographic principle of cultural interpretation with Malaysian nurses
Evidence & Practice    

Using hermeneutic phenomenology and the ethnographic principle of cultural interpretation with Malaysian nurses

Nirmala Arunasalam Senior lecturer, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, England

Background The interpretive paradigm and hermeneutic phenomenological design are the most popular methods used in international cross-cultural research in healthcare, nurse education and nursing practice. Their inherent appeal is that they help researchers to explore experiences. The ethnographic principle of cultural interpretation can also be used to provide meaning, clarity and insight.

Aim To examine the use of hermeneutic phenomenology and the ethnographic principle of cultural interpretation in a research study conducted with Malaysian nurses on part-time, transnational, post-registration, top-up nursing degree programmes provided by one Australian and two UK universities.

Discussion To enable the researcher to undertake international cross-cultural research and illuminate Malaysian nurses’ views for the reader, cultural aspects need to be considered, as they will influence the information participants provide. Useful strategies that western researchers can adopt to co-create research texts with interviewees are outlined. The paradigm and research designs used in the study revealed the views and experiences of Malaysian nurses.

Conclusion Hermeneutic phenomenology enabled the exploration of participants’ experiences, and the ethnographic principle of cultural interpretation enabled the researcher’s reflexivity to provide emic and etic views for the reader.

Implications for practice This paper adds to the discussion of the paradigms and research designs used for international, cross-cultural research in Asia. It identifies the influence participants’ cultural values have on their confidence and level of disclosure with western researchers.

Nurse Researcher. 26, 1, 23-27. doi: 10.7748/nr.2018.e1557


Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared


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