Using a reflective diary to develop bracketing skills during a phenomenological investigation
Christine Wall Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing and Healthcare Studies, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
Sheila Glenn Director of Research, Faculty of Health and Applied Social Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
Susan Mitchinson Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing and Healthcare Studies, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
Helen Poole Senior Lecturer in School of Psychology, Faculty of Science, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
Phenomenology has become an increasingly popular research approach within nursing over the last 25 years. Its roots are within the philosophical movement, and Edmund Husserl (1857-1938) is recognised as one of its figureheads. Its popularity within nursing can be attributed to the fact that phenomenology is an ideal framework for studying life experiences. The main focus of this type of inquiry is to describe particular phenomena (or things) in terms of subjective lived experience. The phenomenological researcher strives to identify the true ‘essence’ or meaning of the phenomenon, and present this as it truly appears to the participants, a concept which Husserl (1931) described as going ‘back to the things themselves’. Researchers are human beings, and it is natural that they will bring their own personal experiences, preconceptions, beliefs and attitudes to the research situation. It is these aspects that the phenomenological researcher adopting a Husserlian approach strives to expose and hold in abeyance. This helps the phenomenon to be presented from the participant to the researcher’s consciousness in a clear and unaltered manner, exactly as the participant experiences it, and before it is subject to the attitudes and experiences of the researcher. If this can be achieved, then the findings are more likely to be a true mirror image of the experience from the participants’ point of view.
11, 4, 20-29.
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