The tradition of transcendental phenomenology stated three steps to investigate and make meaning of experiences. Transcendental in this context means looking at the phenomenon with a fresh eye and open mind, resulting in acquiring new knowledge derived from the essence of experiences (Moustakas, 1994). Initially, epoche allows the researcher to disclose her own experience and feelings (Merriam, 2009; Moustakas, 1994). The opportunity to examine her experiences is essential to avoid judgment and biases later during the course of research (Merriam, 2009; Moustakas, 1994). Then, transcendental-phenomenological reduction will be used to describe the essences of the phenomenon (Moustakas, 1994). Data collected will include perceptions and feelings of the phenomenon. Lastly, imaginative variation is used to deduce the structural essence of experiences (Moustakas, 1994).
Through these steps, the noema (phenomenon) and the noesis (meanings) of the research question are recorded and analyzed simultaneously (Moustakas, 1994). This method emphasizes subjectivity. Knowledge is constructed by systematically collecting and analyzing the participants’ experiences and feelings, making meanings through discourse (Moustakas, 1994).
The role of the researcher
Before data collection, the researcher will practice Epoche (Creswell, 1998; Merriam, 2009; Moustakas, 1994). The researcher will describe her own experiences. It is a technique to increase alertness of the researcher’s underlying feelings about the research topic. The researcher should relinquish biases and look at the topic with a fresh eye (Creswell, 1998; Merriam, 2009; Moustakas, 1994). In this method, it is important that the researcher has experienced the same phenomenon so that the researcher’s experiences and the participants’ experiences can connect. Eventually, everyone in the research will describe the same entity from different perspectives (Moustakas, 1994).
Contrary to the quantitative researchers, who distance themselves from the participants and the research question, the qualitative researcher is participatory (Lodico, Spaulding, & Voegtle, 2010; Merriam, 2009; Moustakas, 1994). The phenomenological discipline using Modified Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method dictates that the researcher will be one of the participants, and the other participants are co-researchers (Creswell, 1998; Moustakas, 1994).
Data analysis for phenomenological research
I choose Modified Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method instead of Modified Van Kaam method, both described by Moustakas (1994), for data analysis. It is because my profile fits the sample criteria and the question under investigation is my personal passion. In the former method, the researcher is the first informant to contribute to the research (Moustakas, 1994). Furthermore, Modified Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method is more popular among researchers (Creswell, 1998). The uniqueness of this method and the clear description of the steps may constitute to its popularity.
The process employs phenomenological reduction, which includes bracketing, horizontalizing, organizing invariant qualities and themes, and constructing textural description (Merriam, 2009; Moustakas, 1994). In this method, data analysis commences as soon as the first set of data are available. Foremost data will be obtained from the researcher’s own experience. The use of horizontalization assigns equal value to each statement which represents a segment of meaning (Merriam, 2009; Moustakas, 1994). The segments will be clustered into themes. Segments and themes will be synthesized into a description of the texture (the what).
The textural description will be examined from different perspectives (imaginative variation) and eventually arrive at a description of the structure (the how). A textural-structural description that emerges represents the meaning and essence of the experience (Creswell, 1998; Moustakas, 1994). A textural-structural description will be generated for each participant (or co-researcher) by repeating the above steps. The descriptions will be integrated into a universal description of group experience (Moustakas, 1994).
The following diagram summarizes steps in the Modified Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method as described by Moustakas (1994):
Modified Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method
Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.
Lodico, M. G., Spaulding, D. T., & Voegtle, K. H. (2010). Methods in educational research: From theory to practice (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.
Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Moustakas, C. E. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage.
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