In broad terms, phenomenological research refers to researching how an individual perceives the meaning of an event, as opposed to how the event exists beyond the perception of people. This form of research endeavors to understand what a group of people felt during a phenomenon. Perceptions, perspectives, and understandings are all going to be analyzed, and then used to create an understanding of what it’s like to experience an event.
Deeply rooted in philosophy, this form of research is certainly not without its benefits. At the same time, there are some downsides you will need to keep in mind.
The Pros of Phenomenological Research
When it comes to phenomenological research pros and cons, here are some of the pros that are important to understand:
1. Unique Perspectives
To be sure, there is some value to be found in focusing research on how people perceive an event or phenomena, rather than simply how the phenomena exists in a vacuum.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of phenomenological research is the fact that it can provide us with a profound, detailed understanding of a single phenomena.
3. Rich Data
Culled from enough individuals, the data one can receive through phenomenological research is rich and impressive. This is a form of research that allows for a truly unique approach to understanding a phenomena.
The Cons of Phenomenological Research
While there are a number of uses with phenomenological research, you can’t say there aren’t some notable downsides:
Establishing the reliability and validity of the approaches can be challenging, which makes subjective research difficult.
Researcher-induced bias can influence studies, and this is particularly true with phenomenological research.
3. Pure Bracketing
Interference with the interpretation of the data can lead to a number of headaches in trying to establish and maintain pure bracketing.
Presenting the findings of this research is more often than not difficult, if not impossible. The results of such research can prove to be highly qualitative, which makes it hard to present the findings in a fashion practitioners would consider to be useful.
Is it even possible with phenomenological research to say that the experiences are typical? Considering the fact that this form of research generally works with small groups, it can be dubious to claim the results are typical in any meaningful way. One can certainly make an educated guess, but in the broader world of research, this isn’t enough for many.