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International Journal of Nursing Practice 2009; 15: 7–15

SCHOLARLY PAPER

Husserl and Heidegger: Exploring the disparity
Tracy McConnell-Henry RN BN GDN (Critical Care) MHSc (Nse Ed) PhD candidate MRCNA
Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Churchill, Victoria, Australia

Ysanne Chapman PhD MSc (Hons) Bed (Nsg) GDE DNE RN
Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Churchill, Victoria, Australia

Karen Francis RN PhD MHlth Sc M Ed PHC Grad Cert Uni Teach/Learn BHlth Sc. Nsg Dip Hlth Sc. Nsg
Professor of Rural Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Churchill, Victoria, Australia

Accepted for publication August 2008 McConnell-Henry T, Chapman Y, Francis K. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2009; 15: 7–15 Husserl and Heidegger: Exploring the disparity Introduced as an alternative to empirical science, phenomenology offers nursing an insightful means for understanding nursing phenomena specifically in relation to lived experiences. However, not all phenomenologies were created equal, a point which has left many a nursing researcher not only confused. Furthermore, this confusion might result in the choosing of a philosophical framework that is neither cognizant with the research question nor the epistemological lens through which the researcher operates. Drawing on common nursing examples to illustrate concepts, the authors closely examine and debate the disparities between Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology and Heidegger’s hermeneutic approach to phenomenology. The aim of the article is to demystify the dense language used and present the fundamental beliefs of each philosopher in a format that is accessible to novice phenomenologists. Key words: Heidegger, hermeneutics, Husserl, nursing, phenomenology, qualitative research.

INTRODUCTION
Over recent years there has been a mounting frequency of nurses choosing to employ phenomenology as a means of understanding nursing phenomenon. For this reason it is paramount that nurses are cognizant with two major types of phenomenology: Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology and Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology. Both scholars’ works are notoriously difficult to read because of the dense German language used, coupled with variances in translation. Furthermore, their propensity to invent language to conceptualize a thought adds to many a reader’s frustration.

Initially, this paper will provide a brief overview of both philosophies. Having then established viewpoints, key differentiations between Husserlian transcendental and Heideggerian hermeneutic phenomenology will be articulated. In an attempt to illustrate how concepts relate to nursing contemporary nursing examples are employed. Although this paper is broadly aimed at students in the infancy of their phenomenology journey, it will also be a valuable resource to any nurse committed to critiquing qualitative research which claims to be underpinned by either Husserlian or Heideggerian tradition.

Correspondence: Tracy McConnell-Henry, Monash University, Northways Road, Churchill, Victoria 3842, Australia. Email: tracy.mcconnell-henry@med.monash.edu.au doi:10.1111/j.1440-172X.2008.01724.x

HUSSERL, HEIDEGGER AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF PHENOMENOLOGY
Phenomenology, as a philosophical research tradition, was developed as an alternative to the empirically based
© 2009 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd

a phenomenon might be considered anything that presents itself. In defending his stance against phenomenological epoche.3 Therefore.14 He argued that time was ‘. as well as the epistemological lens through which the researcher views the world.17 In developing transcendental phenomenology.9 Husserl is credited with introducing the study of ‘lived experience’ or experiences within the ‘life-world’ (Lebenswelt). Heidegger redefined hermeneutics as a ‘. Caelli8 builds on this argument by insisting that because phenomenology is primarily a philosophy. neither Husserl nor Heidegger aimed to produce methodologies. the word hermeneutics comes from the Greek word hermeneusin. Originating from the Greek word ‘phaenesthai’. way of studying all human activities’. a verb. Time. . Husserl aspired to preserve some semblance of objectivity. Fundamentally. or ‘fore-structure’ augmented interpretation.13 Heidegger vehemently rejected bracketing. Heidegger saw the researcher as a legitimate part of the research. Heidegger was interested in moving from description to interpretation.15 Furthermore. HUSSERL’S CARTESIAN DUALITY VS. he advocated the use of phenomenological epoche. Husserl believed that in order to expose the true essence of the ‘lived experience’ it was first necessary for any preconceived ideas to be put aside. one of his students. this alone does not render Husserlian thought redundant.4 Conversely. Moreover. developed transcendental phenomenology.7 The things being the lived experience. Heidegger held that along with time. as a means of studying human experiences. Martin Heidegger. Therefore. Edmund Husserl. hermeneutic phenomenology. Spiegelberg1 described phenomenology as a movement because there are no strict rules. This approach allows the ‘things’ to speak for themselves while at the same time contextualizing them and for the most part. The common ingredient regardless of the type of phenomenology chosen is the concept of ‘to the things themselves!’. phenomenology is the study of phenomena. His focus was on deriving meaning from being. as Being-in-the-world of the participant. the approach utilized to pursue a particular study should surface from the philosophical implications inherent in the question. was pivotal to his thinking. Husserl believed the mind and body to be mutually exclusive. . .8 T McConnell-Henry et al.6 It is the basis for interpretation. but he became concerned that natural science provided an incomplete understanding of human experience. Earlier components of his work were grounded in empirical science. fascinated by the concept of phenomenology. providing greater meaning of the phenomenon under review. a mathematician. meaning to understand or interpret. nor uniform beliefs guiding this tradition. It is these philosophies that have then been used as frameworks to underpin methodologies and hence research. A common misconception is the assumption that phenomenology and hermeneutics are interchangeable terms. Hence. the essence of being’. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd HUSSERLIAN TRANSCENDENTAL PHENOMENOLOGY In response to his disillusionment with natural science. Rather when thinking about the work of these two scholars it must be remembered that what they offered were philosophies. Although originating as a method for studying theological scriptures. positivist paradigm. .11 His approach examined the world pre-reflectively. .12 HEIDEGGERIAN HERMENEUTIC PHENOMENOLOGY In contrast with Husserl.16 Consequently.1 The father of phenomenology. credibility for his methodological advancement would be assured. who supposed that conscious awareness equated with knowledge. HEIDEGGER’S DASEIN The Cartesian concept of duality dominated science for centuries. Husserl developed transcendental phenomenology. Epoche is the Greek word for ‘bracketing’. He termed this directedness ‘intentionality’. Heidegger posited that prior understating. it is a case of the research question. ultimately all phenomenologists subscribe to a similar goal.10 He contended that knowledge stems from conscious awareness and that the mind is directed towards objects. Although Heidegger developed his thought after Husserl. Although philosophical and epistemological standpoints might differ. that should govern the choice of methodology.5 Hermeneutics is the stream of phenomenology supported by Heidegger. trusting that in doing so. Being and Time (1931). exploring the lived experience. context shaped understanding.2 Several years later. meaning ‘to show itself’. as obvious in the title of Heidegger’s masterpiece. with the aim of allowing the text to speak for itself. but with tensions in regards to Husserl’s angle developed his own approach.

As Dasein is not static. Husserl asserted that to generate valid data it was first necessary for the researcher to put aside any presuppositions that he/she might have in relation to the question.28–30 More to the point. means human existence with the entity to ask what is means to be or as described by Johnson19 to mean ‘there being’. The meaning of being is subject to the context of that being. .23 Heidegger disputed this idea.7 As noted by Koch.10 Dasein is the entity that allows humans to wonder about their own existence and question the meaning of their Being-in-theworld. and always able to understand.Husserl and Heidegger 9 Paramount to Husserlian phenomenology was the attempt to ‘. and cannot. but the concept is also referred to as bracketing (out) or reduction. that the person is within their world.19 In other words we construct our reality from our experience of Being–in-the-world. the nurse is always within nursing. in our opinion. What resulted was information that was fundamentally epistemological in nature. Although not directly translatable into English.20 Fundamentally.17. where the outcome is understanding and meaning through interpretation.29–34 © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd BRACKETING VS. or consider. feel more comfortable in adopting Heidegger’s quest for an ontological perspective. Moreover. if the aim of nursing research is to enhance understanding then Benner and Wrubel are firm that the acceptance of Dasein is suitable. . . the meaning of ‘being-in-the-world’ of nursing. understand anything from a purely objective position. to establish meaning. and that the researcher’s ability to interpret the data was reliant on previous knowledge and understanding. the universal structures of Being as they manifested themselves in the phenomena’. along with a bevy of other scholars. he believed that the mind was directed towards objects. . he advocated a concept he termed Dasein.18 By contrast. but meaning always exists.10 Furthermore. We always understand from within the context of our disposition and involvement in the world.22 ing of the phenomenon to be scrutinized. . It provided a description of the experience. Instead.24 He postulated that there is no such thing as interpretive research. As observed by many a nurse researcher.14 Stumpf20 adds weight to this definition by explaining that Dasein is an inherent thing. . free of the judgement or influence of the researcher. prior to it being categorized. in colloquial German Dasein. if any researcher does subscribe to the philosophical standpoint of Being-in-the-world attested to by Heidegger is that he/she is open and upfront with this viewpoint. is data that are obsessed with epistemology. by suggesting that the researcher is as much a part of the research as the participant. Famous for saying ‘back to the things themselves’. For example when a nurse leaves a hospital the nurse is still within the world of nursing. consistent with Husserl being influenced by Cartesian duality. or to uncover ‘. to exist is to find meaning’. Husserl endeavoured to present findings that were pre-reflective. We do not. He termed this epoche. however. Heidegger’s message was simple: Understanding is never without presuppositions. What is vital. but made no attempt to derive meaning from the incident. Gullickson22 summarized this idea by positing that ‘. Heidegger views the researcher as Being-in-theworld of the participant and the research question.10 the ‘. Heideggerian phenomenology considered what it means to be. as the researcher becomes immersed in Being-in-the-world of the participants it becomes nigh impossible for the researcher to maintain a bracketed stance. In regards to bracketing. Heidegger rejected the mind-body duality of human existence underpinning Cartesian thought. Heidegger called this prior understanding fore-structure or fore-conception. In nursing research Benner and Wrubel21 refuted the appropriateness of Cartesian dualism. or as he termed it ‘Being-inthe-world’. We. by claiming that the involvement of the researcher influences or taints the data. calling this directedness ‘intentionality’. and is not an object among the object of nursing. because as already noted.25–27 What is acquired. come face to face with the ultimate structures (essences) of consciousness’. understanding of “being” represents the existential distinction of Dasein’. . Dasein was the foundation upon which he built up the entirety of his thinking. Several researchers have challenged Heideggerian philosophy for this reason. it can not be measured objectively. Heidegger7 claimed that the aim should be to discover meaning. PRESUPPOSITION A chief distinction between Heideggerian hermeneutic phenomenology and Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology is disparity in attitude to background understand- . .

having said that.41 because he was of the opinion that the very point of life-world research was not ‘.10. several shortcomings in this conception. ontology relates to the theory of existence. Heidegger deemed that there was no discernable difference between epistemology and ontology. and must. . knowing only came through interpretation and understanding. because in conducting a review of the literature one innately develops a set of beliefs. researchers can.16 Conversely. Husserl. then some prejudice of the situation is formed. as background comprehension is constructed. the researcher should attain native data. Compared with Husserl whose primary focus was epistemological. KNOWING VS. in his later work he condemned Heidegger’s existential hermeneutics as ‘. .36 Although both Husserl and Heidegger were innately interested in human experience. if the researcher conducts a literature review prior to commencing data collection.37 Husserl. however. rather than ‘epoche’. many fail to explain. By his own admission. By acknowledging. or even knowing. Heidegger completely discarded empirical science.9 So adamant was Husserl that phenomenological reduction was necessary. although able to see that the natural sciences were not able to adequately explain lived experience. acknowledged that perhaps at best the researcher can only realistically aim for partial reduction. as demonstrated by his desire to uncover and unravel the meaning of being. the reader is still left wondering to what degree any prior knowledge the researcher might have had influences the final interpretation. to what degree is this truly feasible? Conversely.35 Husserlian phenomenology is descriptive. transcend their natural attitude and suspend their beliefs about the existence of the objects of experience’. and further. yet offer a tactic that traditional science would still recognize as rigorous. it would allow for reflection on the research and at the same time neutralize ‘. examining and putting aside one’s beliefs. He believed that by employing this technique. he advocated the use of phenomenological reduction. . . promoting the subjective nature of human existence. HERMENEUTIC CIRCLE Husserl aimed to understand human experiences in the life-world (Lebenswelt).38 There are. Crotty. concentrated on knowledge and consciousness. regardless of the phenomenon in question. However. so prized within the positivist paradigm.38 Husserl’s positivist lens was obvious in him suggesting that transcendental phenomenology was the ‘only rigorous science untainted by subjectivity’. Many nurse researchers claim to be influenced by Husserlian thinking. to “lay out” our own experiences but that of others’.42 As an ontologist Heidegger asked questions that he thought would ultimately result in uncovering the . the ontic residue of consciousness’ ensuring that findings were not vulnerable to the researcher’s agenda. by contrast. in reality. Husserl was still motivated to offer ‘objective’ data. the pragmatics of how this stance is achieved. PHENOMENOLOGICAL REDUCTION VS.38 Although he was interested in human experience. and attempt to put aside their beliefs.40 while a vocal supporter of bracketing.10 T McConnell-Henry et al. As observed by Lowes and Prowse. . contended that the epoche process is intended to bracket only what is ‘naturally’ recognized in everyday knowledge. . . If a researcher alleges to subscribe to Husserlian traditions a literature review should be purposefully avoided. with the intent being to raise awareness. ONTOLOGY) Fundamentally. and hence achieve scientific rigour. with certainty when it has been achieved. and as such to him. epistemology concerns itself with the theory of knowledge or how knowledge is acquired. explicitly. or complete reduction as advocated by Husserl. The dilemma is founded in the fact that the researcher does not exist in a vacuum. Although the aim might be to put aside any preconceived ideas. Therefore. corruption of the phenomenological enterprise’. given his mathematical background.25 Lowes and Prowse38 offered that in order to employ Husserlian principles that ‘. ‘to know is to see’. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd interpreting beings. . Both Merleau-Ponty39 and later Moustakas. in many ways their thinking was poles apart. Husserl used bracketing in an attempt to objectify research findings. or more pointedly examining what it means to exist or to be. However. was nevertheless a positivist. by nature. UNDERSTANDING (EPISTEMOLOGY VS.9 Although he aimed to explore human experience. Furthermore. Heidegger7 believed that people are.3 cognizant of the limitations of bracketing. In failing to do so. Heidegger saw himself as an ontologist. On a superficial level the notion of bracketing is meritorious. and that any attempt to bracket oneself from a phenomenon will fail because it is intrinsically impossible. For him. practically how one goes about successfully engaging the epoche. We question the limits of everyday knowledge.

stating that the hermeneutic circle. According to Annells. further possibilities are always feasible.15 When Heidegger7 referred to time. . Gadamer termed the understanding obtained when the researcher and the text meet as the fusion of horizons. He viewed humans as entities with the awareness and thus the ability to ask the ontological questions. values . his phenomenology nevertheless arose from the natural sciences. Coyne and Smith45 hermeneutics is an insightful leap that alters the level of discourse analysis from the concrete to the abstract and leads to an understanding of the possibilities of Being. nevertheless. and further lamented that in the setting of phenomenological reduction a shared understanding is not possible. overlooked or bracketed.10 Bleicher47 agrees.23 He saw experiences as an accrual of events and that the setting or prior experiences had no bearing on the accumulation of these incidents. deriving significance in whatever is experienced or sensed in the world. of questioning and then re-examining the text. To his way of thinking. or as Husserl attested to but ‘. as discussed by Parse. ATEMPORAL VS. the participant offers their story. Heidegger believed that humans are at all times immersed in their world. He criticized Husserl for failing to recognize or accept that the interpreter inescapably brings expectations or knowledge which can not be forgotten. By utilizing the hermeneutic circle the researcher attempts to ‘read between the lines’ and uncover the true essence of the experience. make the research meaningful to its consumers’. the researcher aims to end up with an ontological perspective of the participant’s experiences. Indeed he stated that his epoche approach ‘.10 Gadamer argued that all researchers bring a history to the research environment. which differed notably from Heidegger’s belief in the importance of context. and that context impacts heavily on both existence and experience. and by looking and re-looking at the data.19 Although Husserl strived to develop a means for studying human experience. Past experiences influence both present and future dealings. chronological sense. . Heidegger7 proposed that everyone exists hermeneutically. as pointed out by Koch.36This back and forth movement. Mulhall44 concluded by suggesting that the hermeneutic circle augments the elucidation of Dasein.14 Regardless of the phenomenon. The converse was true of Husserl. We are temporal beings in a temporal world’. results in an everexpanding circle of ideas about what is might mean to be and is called the hermeneutic circle. searching beneath the words and at what is not immediately obvious. Husserl placed little importance on time. the starting point is always the mood in which the experience is lived. The hermeneutic circle relies on the circular movement from the whole to the parts. .49 In line with Heidegger’s belief that Dasein is relative to context.46 Also. so as to ensure that the questions asked were really pertinent. whereby objectification of findings remained the gold standard. so too did he believe that Dasein is never devoid of a mood or disposition. . Indeed. . a student of Heidegger. always in the active and the possible. added to hermeneutic phenomenology in several ways. Gadamer.43 the hermeneutic circle has infinite possibility. in an attempt to leave only consciousness. Koch10 further elaborated this notion by explaining that every time the researcher re-explores the text. resulting in a shared understanding. He contended that the only true way for the researcher to conduct a hermeneutic inquiry was to have some prior knowledge. Husserl encouraged the putting aside of any temporio-spatial awareness or judgments. For Husserl consciousness alone constituted the real truth. knowledge is not gained only through necessity. humans are always. .Husserl and Heidegger 11 meaning of being.17 Fundamentally. bars me from using any judgement that concerns spatio-temporal existence’. some fore-structure. as Barry48 noted. TEMPORALITY Time (temporality) and space (spaciality) were pivotal to Heidegger’s thinking. it was not in the linear. . Although being totally in control of the context is rare. Husserl opined that the experience was the experience. He suggested that understanding is attained only through dialogue and with the researcher being open to the opinions of others. By contrast Heidegger argued that temporality is central to being. is unavoidable and that it should be embraced as a means for exposition of original insight. incorporating the contributions of all deconstructing and then reconstructing. . © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd . in control of being able to derive a meaning (Verstehen) from the situation. Furthermore. even in the absence of the researcher acknowledging the use of the tool. for which he used the word Befindlichkeit. as revealed by human language. time was fluid and attempting to explain human experience in an atemporal fashion was nonsense. and that these ‘. In other words. regardless of the context. Moreover. in that neither knowledge nor experience is gained statically.

whether there is similarity with patients previously seen with this condition and make an interpretation from that prior understanding. to subscribe to Husserlian philosophy is nonsensical. Familiarity. On the first day of a clinical placement a nursing student asks the preceptoring nurse ‘How often should I take Mr Smith’s vital signs?’ A nurse who subscribes to Husserlian thought would answer with absolution.15 ‘. An example of the pragmatics utilized to demonstrate rigour is journaling. ‘TO SEE MEANS TO KNOW’ VS. As an example of the applicability of temporality to nursing. This concept is reminiscent of Heidegger’s influence. many nurses agonize over the arbitrary number the patient gives in response to a choice on a Likert scale. with no respect for previous experience. ‘NO’ METHOD Bleicher. or method. rather truth is intertwined within perception. In line with Heideggerian tradition. We would counter this notion by contending that knowledge has been derived from context-specific experience. Epistemologically. On the other hand. as professed by one person. . Transcendental phenomenology. consider the following scenario. not a methodology. Contemporary nursing prides itself on its holistic manner. Moreover. to name just a few. In other words the nurse would draw on preconceived ideas in relation to past experience and knowledge. By approaching the situation utilizing Husserl’s philosophy the nurse would offer a prescriptive answer. A nursing example to illustrate nursing’s tension with truth is patients’ perception of pain. a nurse influenced by Heidegger would more likely respond ‘that depends’ because a Heideggerian thinker is governed by temporality. within a hermeneutic way of understanding. Given such a question the nurse would consider.15 The truth about an experience. might lead to misunderstanding of essence of the experience. Hermeneutic phenomenology is concerned with interpretation and uncovering.47 a nurse researcher. or drawing on previous knowledge being the fundamental point. truth is not necessarily situated in the opposite polarity to falsity. rather than experiences that build upon previous experiences. As noted by Faulconer and Williams. Yet at the same time nurses remain desperate to employ pain rating scales to validate what the patient reports. it is instilled in nurses that pain is whatever the patient says it is. therapeutic interventions and previous responses to treatments as well as previous experience with clients with a similar diagnosis. stability. illustrating this point by stating that our understanding is rooted in our own definitions. which is in line with Heidegger’s belief in the subjectivity of multiple truths. . Instead of qualitatively exploring the patients pain.52 Sandelowski53 has suggested that there is no universal agreement on appropriate measures to demonstrate rigour in qualitative nursing research. Those who favour positivist thought might argue that there is room for empirical science in nursing. the Heideggerian-inclined nurse would consider why the patient has pain. given that he claimed his standpoint a philosophy.12 T McConnell-Henry et al. because to Husserl’s way of thinking human experiences are simply accrued events. Heidegger claims that this theory does not exist. in that context. given the holistic approach employed in contemporary nursing. Hence. Husserl feared that an attempt to interpret the participants’ contribution. objects among objects. Conversely. devoid of the need to consider context. such as ‘four hourly’. believing to know means to see.42 Merleau-Ponty39 built on this argument by suggesting that meaning and experience happen concurrently. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd might differ markedly from that believed by another person.54 Other prominent researchers who devised their own criteria for . by using fore-structure as the basis of interpretation. however. by contrast aims is to expose the absolute truth via description. and therefore need for pain relief. In line with this approach. the patient’s condition. A Husserlianinfluenced nurse would readily accept the number. STRINGENT METHOD VS. whereby the goal is understanding ahead of certainty. when employing hermeneutic phenomenology the nurse researcher is responsible for identifying a unique criteria for rigour. taking into account temporality and spaciality. for example. Heidegger7 stressed that it is not possible to live devoid of interpretation. citing examples such as sound aseptic techniques must be employed when attending to invasive procedures. rather it emerges from within the hermeneutic circle. truth is how things are’. Taylor51 agrees. a technique favoured by Koch. asserted that understanding is not the outcome of a prescribed and adhered to recipe. Every experience is unique to that person. Conversely. experiences might still resonate with that of another. MULTIPLE TRUTHS Kohak50 signified the positivism in Husserl’s approach by declaring that his overarching thought was ‘to know means to see’.

The richness of phenomenology: Philosophic. With the understanding gained from this paper it is hoped that nurses are better equipped to understand phenomenology. Thousand Oaks. phenomenology as an apt means for studying human experience.63 More recently the German Social theorist. Jurgen Habermas. . 254–277. 2 Dreyfus H. This paper has contrasted and discussed the disparity between two different types of phenomenology. CA. Additionally. Above all. more particularly. . 3 Moustakas C. CA. USA: Sage. The Great Philosophers: An Introduction to Western Philosophy.). Although many nurse researchers might be familiar with the term phenomenology. In considering the trustworthiness of interpretation it is more appropriate to consider the concept of resonance rather than truth. clearly illustrated his allegiance with Heidegger’s thinking. Additionally. the emancipation of social theory and change. Critical Issues in Qualitative Research Methods. 4 Ray MA. as a suitable research framework for investigating lived experiences. to trust a stringent method is to have a preconceived idea about what is right by investing enormous faith in the right way in order to achieve the right outcome and consequently as Faulconer and Williams15 suggested ‘.64. Furthermore.15 dimensional description of Lebenswelt . identifying self as body. His intent is not only to achieve understanding but moreover. following encouragement by his comrade Jean-Paul Sartre. BEYOND HUSSERL AND HEIDEGGER Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology was revisited by French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty. . 1994. 1994. 1988.12 Despite subscribing to phenomenological reduction. From a practical perspective it is the responsibility of the researcher to define how these goals will be met. In: Magee B (ed.Husserl and Heidegger 13 rigour include Chapman. as already mentioned. MerleauPonty however did attempt to develop a ‘.61 Again. multi- REFERENCES 1 Spiegelberg H. Although Sartre was initially fascinated by the writings of Husserl. Boston: Martinus-Nijhoff. 3rd edn. Clayton and Thorne59 concur. Thousand Oaks. Husserlian phenomenologists see merit in structured approaches. we have drawn on everyday nursing examples to illustrate phenomenology’s applicability to nursing. . 1982. namely Husserl’s transcendental and Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology. theoretic and methodolgical concerns. 117–134. influenced by Kant and the theory of Enlightenment. however. they expand the idea of trustworthiness to include credibility.40 Oiler25 and Paley27 bracketing is synonymous with rigorous research. Crisis of European Sciences. has taken the tradition of exploring life-world and lived experience and examined it through a critical lens. Although Merleau-Ponty fervently refuted Husserl’s dualist mindset. USA: Sage. obvious in his expansion of hermeneutics. Heidegger. that would not neglect any of its meaningful ontological features’. A contemporary scholar who has further extended the work of Heidegger is Canadian educationalist Max van Manen.56 The point of indicating rigour is to instil trust and confidence in research findings.30 Benner55 and Taylor. few are cognizant with the forms this research methodology might take. For researchers influenced by Husserlian convention. Husserl and modern existentialism. to have a method is already to have an interpretation’. His particular interest is in pathic inquiry into pedagogical experience. he nevertheless advocated Husserl’s stance on bracketing. such as Crotty.57 Lincoln and Guba58 elaborate by suggesting that in order to establish trustworthiness it is essential that a researcher clearly identifies and documents decisions made throughout the analysis stage because auditablity is the hallmark of trustworthiness in qualitative research. given that the goal of a hermeneutic inquiry is a shared understanding the principle hermeneutic phenomenologists subscribe to most heavily is resonance. . such as those devised by Giorgi60 suggesting that by employing clearly defined methods ensure validity. in light of findings. over time he eventually saw more merit in Heidegger’s viewpoint.62 Merleau-Ponty found particular interest in Husserl’s work.65 Gadamer.66 CONCLUSION Contemporary nursing researchers have eagerly embraced the qualitative paradigm and. Nevertheless. such approaches mimic empiricism. New York: Oxford University Press. whereby interpretation via reflection on language is the cornerstone of his work. indicating that to ensure credibility the researcher must represent the participant’s perspective as transparently as possible. Phenomenological Research Methods.). . The Phenomenological Movement: A Historical Introduction. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd . In: Morse JM (ed.

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