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Methodology

Phenomenology

Phenomenology, according to Stewart and Mickunas (1974), is the 'reasoned inquiry which discovers the inherent essences of appearances'

(p. 3). This approach allows the researcher to delve into the lived experience of participants to uncover the way in which they experience a certain phenomenon. An essential part of the process is that the researcher 'brackets,' or sets aside, his own understanding and experience of the phenomenon - this is known as the phenomenological reduction - in order to experience the phenomenon afresh through the experience of the participant. Then, through a process of transformation and imaginative variation, the researcher arrives at a description of the essential structure of the experience through the life-world descriptions given by the participants themselves (Aanstoos, 1985; Cresswell, 1998; Giorgi, 2008; Groenewald, 2004). This approach, characterised by methodological rigor, allows the researcher to enter into the thinking of the participants in a deep fashion. Thus the 'result is not a definition of the phenomenon, but a careful description of the structure of the lived experience of that phenomenon in a particular type of situation' (Giorgi, 2008, p. 41, emphasis in original).

 
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