Phenomenology (Part 2)

Thanks to Ricki for furthering our understanding of the qualitative methods approach known as phenomenology. Cindy introduced us last week to the method for gathering and interpreting lived experience data, and this week we thought more about the core principles of this research design with focus on the apprehension and organization of data – the data-gathering effort and data-explicitation strategies. The Groenewald article highlighted unstructured in-depth phenomenological interviews supplemented by “memoing”, essays by participants, along with a focus group discussion and the use of field notes. I think our discussion of the appropriate size of the participant group, as well as the purposeful selection of participants was a useful one for all of you as you consider the merits of this approach. Each of you will eventually need to consider the pros and cons of a variety of these qualitative methods in research design (in order to select and/or customize the most appropriate design for your own inquiry), …so start thinking about which designs seem most accessible to you, and which ones might be most suitable for your particular inquiry/study.

Our class slides:

Your reminder to keep working on your final research proposal due 5/9:

Another example:

I am glad to have shared an example of an “academic” MA thesis project in order for you to understand how research plays into a phenomenological study – please see Maura O’Neill’s MA Thesis Proposal and Lit Review below. Just like Gianna, Maura submitted these materials halfway in her process of developing her MA Thesis. I hope they might be useful to all of you as a reference point of successful peer work.

Our Workshop

This week in our “workshop” portion of class, you accounted for the challenges you are facing when wondering “What would make your work on this Research Proposal go better? through our “Conversation Cafe” activity. I think it resulted in some wise considerations and some good troubleshooting too. If anything, I hope it helped you grapple with the work of research AS A PROCESS. A process that indeed requires “gestation” and reflection time in order to evolve. I hope it is also more apparent to all of you now that this process is an iterative one. Remember that you should be continually working on, expanding, and refining your Lit Review.

**This week you should start to write and early draft of your proposal in order to start to shape up this work. You might start by outlining a plan. Then comes some early writing. Please do re-read the Proposal Assignment (focusing on “Constructing a Proposal” section and the questions listed there. Start writing an early draft of the formal proposal. This will prepare you for our “Peer-Review Protocol” workshop time next week.

Your to-do list

Please read Discourse Analysis: Making Complex Methodology Simple

Your 10th blog due 4/11. Please write a reflection on our next “Discourse Analysis” article. Thuy will lead our discussion in class.

**Continue your development of your Research Proposal by starting the proposal draft. Create an outline of the proposal, and then start writing a draft of your proposal for class next week, so you can discuss this in-progress work with your peer review partner. Post a brief update on your proposal draft progress in BLOG 10.


There is a lot of work piling up now. This is the nature of the rhythms of an academic semester. I understand that you will be facing stress management challenges. Remember to communicate with your professors, to pace yourself and pay attention to using your time wisely in the next several weeks, and be sure to place the right forms of “prioritization” to the work ahead. If you have to read a methodology article and blog, and also work further on your own proposal, strike a reasonable balance with the time you are devoting to these tasks.

Have a good weekend!