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Using Phenomenology: Understanding group dynamics. . EDUC867 Research Methodology Presentation By Jia Fei January, 2010. My Study Design. Understanding Group Dynamics: Examining the influence of proximity and contact on group interaction.

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Using phenomenology understanding group dynamics

Using Phenomenology: Understanding group dynamics.

EDUC867

Research Methodology Presentation

By Jia Fei

January, 2010


My study design
My Study Design

Understanding Group Dynamics: Examining the influence of proximity and contact on group interaction.

  • Objective: My study intends to understand and describe students’ individual experience in group interaction with respect to proximity and contact.

  • Research Paradigm--Interpretivism

    I am not seeking for objective truth in group interaction. Instead, I am interested in how students interpret their experience in group interaction. Especially, how students’ feelings and motivations are affected by factors like proximity and contact?

  • Methodology chosen – Phenomenology


Overview of phenomenology
Overview of phenomenology

  • Definition:“Phenomenology is an approach which attempts to understand the hidden meanings and the essence of an experience together with how participants make sense of these.”(Grbich 2007, p. 84).

  • Strengths: Phenomenology is used to explore, describe, document rich details of people’s experiences, especially changes in feelings and experiences over time.

  • Epistemological position -- Interpretivism.

    Husserl:Experience is the source of all knowledge.

  • Common Research methods: In-depth Interview as well as observation and documentation.


Key authors texts studies
Key Authors/Texts/Studies

Key Authors:

  • Edmund Husserl; Martin Heidegger; Jean-Paul Sartre ;

    Maurice Merleau-Ponty; Max van Manen

    Key Texts/Studies:

  • Husserl, E. (1999) The idea of phenomenology. Dordrecht, Boston : Kluwer Academic.

  • Heidegger, M. (2005) Introduction to phenomenological research. Bloomington : Indiana University Press.

  • Moustakas, C.(1994) Phenomenological Research Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  • Geelan, D. & P. Taylor. (2001).Writing our lived experience: beyond the (pale) hermeneutic? Electronic Journal of Science Education. 5 (4).

  • Trujillo, J. (2004) An existential phenomenology of crack cocaine abuse. Janus Head. 7(1). 167-187.


Key concepts and blind spot
Key Concepts and Blind Spot

  • Epoche -Bracketing

    To put aside presuppositions and start with an open, unbiased mind to understand the phenomenon through the informants’ eyes.

    The process is called phenomenological reduction.

  • Intentionality: “Direction of experience towards things in the world” (Gribch 2007, p.85), the property of consciousness.

Blind Spot

  • Debate on the possibility and indispensability of phenomenological reduction (bracketing).

  • Bracketing is difficult to do in practice and unclear to judge its completeness.


Why use phenomenology
Why use phenomenology

  • My study is focused on participants’ interpretations of their experiences and feelings. Phenomenology with a focus on individual feelings can allow me to see the group dynamics through the participants’ voices.

  • Based on common phenomenological methods, I will collect data via individual interviews and videotaped observation. The latter will allow me look into participants’ experience and help them recall details (their feelings, actions, etc ) of their experiences.

  • My data analysis is based on phenomenological analysis procedures:

  • a. Start with bracketing;

  • b. Analysis of specific statements and themes;

  • c. A search for all possible meanings by intuition, imagination and universal structures.

  • (Miller & Salkind, 2002).


Methodological question
Methodological Question

  • Which form of phenomenology is the most suitable for my study? (Existential phenomenology or transcendental phenomenology?)

  • If adopting existential phenomenology, how to deal with intersubjectivity?

  • How to “bracket” my prejudgments, beliefs and previous habit of thinking? How do I know if I have done a good job in bracketing?

  • Is it necessary to reflect my personal experience in group interaction? If yes, how do I connect it with informants’ descriptions?