Tag Archives: Epistemology

My posts on the various epistemological questions, issues and problems students face within the research process.

What is phenomenology?

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“Experience by itself is not science” (Edmund Husserl)

Phenomenology, a word that strikes “fear” into the heart of every qualitative researcher. A lot of this fear is born out of a misunderstanding, a lack of knowledge and in many cases a lack of application. The direct link between phenomenology and experience however cannot be denied.

It is important at this stage to acknowledge that phenomenology is just one mechanism on the “long road” to completion, it may not be the best or the most appropriate viewpoint but as a qualitative researcher you may want to think about how it can be utilised to frame your view of the world.

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Types of interviews for data collection

Interview in Progress
Key to a good interview

In this blog post I want to take some time looking at the different types of interviews for collecting data. Every qualitative researcher will at one time or another need to conduct research where they need to interview their research participant(s).  In the view of the research (Burnard, Gill, Stewart, Treasure, & Chadwick, 2008; Gill, Stewart, Treasure, & Chadwick, 2008; Morse & Corbin, 2003) there are three fundamental types of research interviews, these are:

  • Structured,
  • Semi-structured
  • Unstructured

Each of these have a slight variation in their structure and more importantly conduct. Morse & Corbin (2003) discus this in more detail and note that the main difference between the three approaches is “The degree to which participants have control over the process and content of the interview”.

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what is an “original contribution”?

This for me has come just at the right time. I have just started my contribution to knowledge and there are some really good points here. Thanks ever so much Pat!

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Many doctoral researchers worry about what ‘original’ in original contribution to knowledge means. They worry whether their research will be seen as original enough. They worry which of the multiple ways in which original might be interpreted will be applied to their thesis.

The notion of original seems to carry with it the idea of singularity – I’ve done something fresh and unique– combined with the notion of originary – I’ve started something new here – combined with the notion of authenticity – this is all my own work, I haven’t copied it from anywhere else. Now each of these terms, applied as assessment criteria, is actually pretty unhelpful when it comes to academic work. These categories of originality might make sense for thinking about painting the Mona Lisa, or even inventing Facebook, but they don’t get very far in relation to scholarship. Let me explain.

Singularity? Something unique?…

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How to structure your research approach

This blog post is all about helping you to create a Methodology approach for your Qualitative research.For many identifying and writing a research approach is a personal journey of reflection, exploration and anguish! During my PHD identifying a research approach was one of the most difficult things I achieved. This was also a common phenomena with some of the other PHD students who were also undertaking their degree at the same time as me. We struggled with every aspect of the research approach and for some it was too much.

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