Phenomenological Psychological Research as Science

Part of teaching the descriptive phenomenological psychological method is to assist students in grasping their previously unrecognized assumptions regarding the meaning of “science.” This paper is intended to address a variety of assumptions that are encountered when introducing students to the descriptive phenomenological psychological method pioneered by Giorgi. These assumptions are: 1) That the meaning of “science” is exhausted by empirical science, and therefore qualitative research, even if termed “human science,” is more akin to literature or art than methodical, scientific inquiry; 2) That as a primarily aesthetic, poetic enterprise human scientific psychology need not attempt to achieve a degree of rigor and epistemological clarity analogous to that pursued by natural scientists; 3) That “objectivity” is a concept belonging to natural science, and therefore human science ought not to strive for objectivity because this would require “objectivizing” the human being; 4) That qualitative research must always adopt an “interpretive” approach, description being seen as merely a mode of interpretation. These assumptions are responded to from a perspective drawing primarily upon Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, but also upon Eagleton’s analysis of aestheticism.
Keywords Giorgi   phenomenology   science   research   method
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DOI 10.1163/156916212X632952
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