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A Phenomenological Perspective on Certain Qualitative Research Methods

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In this article the phenomonelogical approach to qualitative research is compared with certain other qualitative approaches following other paradigms. The thesis is that a deepened understanding of phenomenological philosophy can provide the alternative framework that many of these authors have been seeking. The comparison with other approaches is made in terms of theoretical and methodical consistency. Theoretically, the argument is that the situation known as "mixed discourse" exists because practitioners have not sufficiently freed themselves from the criteria and practices of traditional paradigms in which most qualitative researchers have been trained. The shift from the collection of numerical data to linguistic data takes place without appropriate shift in theoretical context. This state of affairs should be overcome in order to strengthen qualitative research. On the other hand, many qualitative researchers carry on practices that seem to be analogous to phenomenological prescriptions which are explicitly usually misunderstood or resisted when stated directly and generically. Thus, greater theoretical clarity and consistency as well as deeper reflection or better utilization of imaginative possibilities still seem to be called for in order to bring better theoretical conceptualization and more consistent practices to qualitative research.

Affiliations: 1: University of Québec at Montreal and Saybrook Institute

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