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Phenomenological Research: Inquiry to Understand the Meanings of People's Experiences

, School of Education and Human Development, Florida International University, Miami, FL, United States

IJAVET Volume 7, Number 3, ISSN 1947-8607 Publisher: IGI Global


The purpose of this article is to introduce readers to phenomenological inquiry, an inductive qualitative research approach that is rooted in the philosophical proposition that researchers can gain valuable insight into the structure of how people understand their experiences. It is assumed that there is a structure or essence to the meaning people make of their experiences that can be described and that human experiences are spiritual, physical, emotional, psychological, temporal, spatial, etc. Perceptive descriptions of these experiences can inform more humane workplace policy and helpful new theories. To develop such descriptions, researchers must challenge their own and a priori theoretical understandings of the experience. The article presents information about lifeworld, epoche, and essence; major tenets of the approach. Various ways of understanding and conducting phenomenological inquiry are also presented, including examples of how proponents of various viewpoints discuss methodological concerns. Further, the article provides guidelines for conducting phenomenological research, illustrated with examples of online accessible phenomenological studies in a variety of fields that were conducted from different viewpoints. The article stresses the importance of researchers being knowledgeable about the various viewpoints in order to be articulate about their own phenomenological methods decisions.


Bliss, L. (2016). Phenomenological Research: Inquiry to Understand the Meanings of People's Experiences. International Journal of Adult Vocational Education and Technology, 7(3), 14-26. IGI Global. Retrieved April 22, 2019 from .