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Phenomenological Research Methods

Phenomenological Research Methods

This experience is studied on a personal and individual level. One of the biggest issues that philosophers have confronted when it comes to phenomenology is the quality or nature of the given experience. Many philosophers have a hard time believing that it would be possible to be sure that one person’s experience with a certain phenomenon would be the same as another person’s (Groenewald 2004). This can make doing quantitative research difficult. The results generated from the research studies in phenomenology can only be applied to the individual being studied and may not reflect the same as with another person, even if they are similar. The beginning of phenomenology started with a few philosophies that led to actual research methods. Hire our assignment writing services in case your assignment is devastating you.

Two of the most influential philosophers who helped develop and inspire other psychologists in the field of phenomenology were Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. Their philosophies have inspired many research methods to be developed. They were some of the first to start on the quest to understand the lived experience of phenomena. Though they both embarked on this quest, their journeys and experiences were completely different, as were their approaches to understanding the human experience. Their ability to inspire has made the world of phenomenology a possibility of being their own division within psychology. It is their methods and theories that brought the possibility of research methods to be developed. Many research methods emerged from their philosophies, which have put phenomenology on the map and have brought credibility to this type of research method.

Inspired by Edmund Husserl

One of the research methods that emerged from the philosophies of Edmund Husserl is the Descriptive Phenomenological Method in Psychology. This research method was developed by Amedeo Giorgi. The central tenant in the Descriptive Phenomenological Method is that there are both descriptive and interpretive moments, but the researcher remains careful to attend to each type of act in unique ways (Giorgi, n.d). Giorgi is one of the founding members of the “Duquesne School” of psychology, where he began formalizing phenomenological methods for psychology. The reason that Giorgi began studying phenomenology was that after receiving his Ph.D., he started to become critical of mainstream psychology. This is what led him to learn from Husserl, and he began developing his own methods. This is what led him to the development of the Descriptive Phenomenological Method in Psychology.

Another research method that emerged from the philosophies of Edmund Husserl is Neurophenomenology. This research method combines the phenomenology philosophies of Husserl with the idea of first-person science. The central tenant of Neurophenomenology is that the observers examine their own conscious experience using scientifically verifiable methods. Neurophenomenology emphasizes the embodied condition of the human mind by studying experience, mind, and consciousness by combining neuroscience with phenomenology. Neurophenomenology was introduced by Francisco Varela. Varela was a trained biologist. He was also a mathematician and philosopher. Varela supported the idea of embodied philosophy. This view shows human cognition and consciousness in terms of the enactive structures in which they arise. With his research, he attempted to bridge the gap between Buddhism and the world of science.

Inspired by Martin Heidegger

One of the research methods that was inspired by the philosophies of Heidegger was the Interpretative phenomenological analysis. The central tenant of the interpretative phenomenological analysis is to show how a certain person in a certain situation will make sense of a certain phenomenon. This phenomenon will usually come from something personal, such as a major life event. This approach uses qualitative research, and data is gathered from participants using interviews and journal entries. Interpretative phenomenological analysis is unique because the research combines the psychological, interpretative, and idiographic components (Englander 2012). The uses of this research have even extended beyond phenomenology and have been used in occupational psychology as well. This research method was developed by Johnathan Smith. Smith is prominent in promoting the use of qualitative research in both health and social psychology.

Another view that was inspired by the philosophies of Martin Heidegger is phenomenological anthropology. This is an existentialist approach to psychoanalysis. This approach is also known as Daseins analysis. The central tenant of this approach is that human existence (which he called Dasein) is open to any and all experiences (Groenewald 2004). Dasein’s analysis proposes that there is no gap between the human mind and measurable matter. Participants in this type of study are told that they must think of themselves as being alone with their self while being in the paradox of being in a relationship with other humans but that they are ultimately alone. This approach was fathered by Ludwig Binswanger. Binswanger was a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and was thought of as one of the founders of the analysis of existence.

Contrasting Methods

Each of the methods mentioned above has a good end goal, and they are there to help the individual reach self-actualization. There are some primary differences in these methods. The Descriptive Phenomenological Method in Psychology looks at both the descriptive and interpretative moments, but the researcher must look at each in a unique and individual way. Neurophenomenology has the participant look at their own experience from the outside. The interpretative phenomenological analysis is mainly interpretative on how a person will react to a given situation in a given way. Dasein’s analysis is focused on being alone with one’s self despite being surrounded by others. Though the methods are each unique in their own way, the end goal of helping the individual work through the issues and illnesses by focusing on themselves is a relevant theme (Englander 2012).

Gathering data in each of these methods is similar in that they are done using interviews and journal entries. When working on an individual basis, the best way to gather that information and data is by interviewing the test subject (Englander 2012). Analysis of this data is also similar. The goal of this type of psychology is not just to force medications on the subject but rather to treat the illness by looking within one’s self and finding the real issue. The role of the researcher in these methods is just to gather the data by conducting interviews and reviewing and cataloging the journal entries for later analysis. The methods of these types of research vary on many levels, but the goal at the end is the same.

Understanding the Human Experience

Interpretative phenomenological analysis is one of the best ways for a researcher to understand the human experience. It is a form of qualitative research that helps the researcher understand how a person will react if the person is put into a particular set of circumstances and how they will react to a certain phenomenon when placed in that particular situation. This method uses the most extensive research into the actions and reactions of an individual when placed in certain situations.

Though phenomenologists agree that the illness needs to be treated from within the patient and that medication is not necessarily the answer, they have several methods for reaching those conclusions (Groenewald 2004). These methods have their controversies, and people will speak against them, but to understand the human experience and how to get the most out of it, there is no better way than to live it. The human experience is fascinating and different for every person, and so the best way, and really the only way, to study it would be through the world of phenomenology.


Englander, M. (2012). The interview: Data collection in descriptive phenomenological human scientific research. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 43(1), 13–35.

Giorgi, A. (n.d.). Phenomenological Psychology. The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology, 165–178. doi:10.4135/9781848607927.

Groenewald, T. (2004). A Phenomenological Research Design Illustrated. International Journal Of Qualitative Methods, 3(1), 42-55.


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The quest to understand the lived experience and the philosophical structures of experience and consciousness is the focus of a movement that began in the early years of the 20th Century. The movement is called phenomenology because the movement explores the lived experience of phenomena. Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger were two of the prominent philosophers who developed this method of inquiry, though each took a significantly different philosophical approach to understanding human experience. In this assignment, you will discuss the psychology research methods that emerged from the philosophies of Husserl and Heidegger and the researchers who developed those methods.

Phenomenological Research Methods

Phenomenological Research Methods

General Requirements: 

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

Doctoral learners are required to use APA 7th style for their writing assignments. The APA Style Guide is located in the Student Success Center.

Refer to the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for specific guidelines related to doctoral-level writing. The Manual contains essential information on manuscript structure and content, clear and concise writing, and academic grammar and usage.

This assignment requires that at least two scholarly research sources related to this topic, and at least one in-text citation from each source be included.


Write a paper (1,350-1,500 words) in which you discuss both the phenomenological research methods in psychology that emerged from the philosophies of Husserl and Heidegger and the theorists/psychologists who developed those methods. Include the following in your paper:

A discussion of at least two phenomenological research methods that emerged from the phenomenological philosophy of Husserl. What were the central tenets of each method? What is known about the theorists/psychologists who developed each method?

A discussion of at least two phenomenological research methods that emerged from the phenomenological philosophy of Heidegger. What were the central tenets of each method? What is known about the theorists/psychologists who developed each method?

A contrast of the primary differences among the phenomenological research methods identified above. How does each method address the approach to data gathering, data analysis, and the role of the researcher?

A research-based statement of and rationale for the method you believe allows the best understanding of human experience.

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