Phenomenological Analysis

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  • Created by: Sarah
  • Created on: 08-05-16 12:02


Types of qualititative analysis:

  • Thematic analysis
  • IPA
  • Discourse analysis
  • Grounded theory
  • Conversation analysis 

Thematic Analysis

  • Identifying themes (or patterns of meaning)
  • In interview material, texts, internet material
  • Thematic analysis of some form underpins most forms of qual analysis

Rationale for interview research: to study people's experience - experience of what? Life-worlds.

What are life-worlds?

The state of affairs in which the world is lived and experienced. i.e. the subjective (not behaviour). What matters to pps. 

IPA (Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis)

1. Assumptions in IPA

  • 1st assumption: People interpret the world of phenomena (things).
    What we researchers study, therefore, are their interpretations of the world.
  • 2nd assumption: researchers interpret the world too.
    When we study people's sense-making, we bring our own sense-making to this enterprise 
    Researchers therefore interpret people's interpretations
    Therefore REFLEXIVITY (self-awareness in our activity as researchers) is built in to IPA
  • Assumption 1 makes an ontological point: that people are cognizers (and that there are things out there to be cognized) (cognize = know or become aware of)
  • Assumption 2 makes an epistemological point: we don't have direct access to reality - it is always mediated. There is no such thing as an uninterpreted phenomenon. 

2. Designing an IPA study

  • Idiographic vs nomothetic.
    You would do IPA if you are interested in the particular cases not general statistical average tendencies in the population  - so idiographic.
  • Meanings vs causal relations.
    You would do IPA are interested in people's interpretations in their own right.
    If you want to make claims about causal relations (eg. mechanisms in people's heads that makes them interpret in these ways) you should do experiments instead. 
  • Quality vs quantity.
    You would do IPA if you're interested in the quality or types of experiences, not in measuring amounts or strength of experiences (or anything else) 
  • Examples of IPA research questions:
    What does jealousy feel like?
    How do certain people view


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