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Phenomenology. Finding The “Essence” of the Phenomenon. PHENOMENOLOGY. FOCUS. Purpose. Phenomenology focuses on what commonalities are seen when individuals experience a phenomenon.

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Finding The “Essence” of the Phenomenon




Phenomenology focuses on what commonalities are seen when individuals experience a phenomenon.

The basic purpose of phenomenology is to reduce the experience or phenomenon of a number of people into one understanding of the “essence” of the experience.

phenomenology key characteristics
Phenomenology: Key Characteristics
  • Describes and tries to understand the lived experiences of individuals who have experienced a particular phenomenon
  • Ultimately looks for “the essence” of the experience
  • Relies heavily on philosophical underpinnings
  • May use “bracketing” (setting aside preconceived ideas about a phenomenon), as an important component.
  • Much of the work comes out of the field of nursing
  • In the most basic sense, it answer the question of “What’s it like?”

ED 800 (Kolenick v1): Intro to Education Research: Course Slides

types of phenomenology
Types of Phenomenology

Naturalistic constitutive phenomenology studies how consciousness constitutes or takes things in the world of nature, assuming with the natural attitude that consciousness is part of nature.

Existential phenomenology undergoes an investigation of meaning in the context of lived experience

Static phenomenology is the style of analysis that primarily focuses on the fixed intentional relation between an act and an object

types cont
Types Cont…

Generative historicist phenomenology studies how meaning, as found in our experience, is generated in historical processes of collective experience over time.

Genetic phenomenology studies the genesis of meanings of things within one\'s own stream of experience.

Hermeneutical phenomenology studies interpretive structures of experience, how we understand and engage things around us in our human world, including ourselves and others.

Realistic phenomenology emphasizes the search for the essential structures of various concrete situations.

Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997, Dordrecht and Boston

role of the researcher

Role of the Researcher

The researcher collects data from individuals who have experienced the phenomenon, finds commonalities and themes, brackets for bias when necessary and then writes a rich description of the “essence” of the experience for all individuals. There are two separate approaches the researcher can take, one would be as an objective outsider and the other who exists within the same world as the participants and must account for their own personal bias impact on the process.

techniques used to gather information
Techniques Used To Gather Information
  • Observation
  • Interview
  • Survey
  • Documentation/Materials
  • Large amounts of transcribed information is gathered and can sometimes become difficult to work with.
how do we find the essence of the phenomenon
How Do We Find The “Essence” Of The Phenomenon

Common Steps used in the research process:

1.Collect descriptions of an experience from people who have had the experience.

2. Go over all of the descriptions and look for common themes or elements.

3.Create a clear and very descriptive understanding of the experience.

4. The description you give is the “essence” of the phenomenon.

goal obstacle plan
Goal, Obstacle, Plan,


Bringing phenomenology down to an easy to understand and basic level, in an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of what phenomenology is and how the “essence” of the experience is found.


Not being able to immerse yourself enough, to truly live the experience of anger again, while sitting in the classroom.

Having to small of a focus group to find similar threads or themes.


Close your eyes and remember a time you were angry. Really try to listen to your body and describe the changes, feelings, thoughts in your mind etc.


Try To Remember The Last Time You Were Angry. Do more than recall the experience; try to re-experience it, strongly, repeatedly.  "Call" on it.  Focus On That Experience Using All Of Your Senses. Write Down A Brief Description Of Your Experience In Detail

C. George Boeree, Shippensburg University

consider the following questions
Consider The Following Questions
  • How does it come on?
  • What happens during the experience, to your body?
  • How does the world seem different?
  • What thoughts and feelings come upon you?
  • What acts do you need or want to do?
  • How does it dissipate?
  • What preconditions were there ( set mood)?
  • What outside triggers were there?

C. George Boeree, Shippensburg University

  • Bracketing means setting aside all our usual, "natural" assumptions about the phenomena.  You can\'t hear it if you are loudly telling it what it is!
  •  Practically speaking, this means we must put aside our biases, prejudices, theories, philosophies, religions, even common sense, and accept the phenomenon for what it is.

( C. George Boeree ,Shippensburg University

share your descriptions
Share Your Descriptions
  • Read your account of what you feel, think and how you physically react when angry.
  • Listen to others in your group read their accounts.
  • Do you notice any common phrases, words, or themes?
finding commonalities and themes
Finding Commonalities and Themes
  • Underline/circle all phrases or comments that are similar.
  • Group all of your similarities/commonalities by theme.
  • Now you are ready to write a description of the “essence” of anger.
the final product
The Final Product

Once the essence of the phenomenon has been discovered through comparing information found in interviews, surveys, observations etc. and commonalities have been found and themed, you are ready to take the final step and produce a final product that demonstrates the essence of the phenomenon you were studying. The final product may be a rich written description in a research paper format or can take on a more artistic format such as poetry, film or visual art.

film representation
Film Representation

Muni Railway

A Trip Through The Tunnel