Numerically Aided Methods in Phenomenology: A Demonstration

Journal of Mind and Behavior 10 (4):373-392 (1989)

Don Kuiken
University of Alberta
Phenomenological psychology has emphasized that experience as it is immediately "given" to the experiencing individual is an appropriate subject matter for psychological investigation. Consideration of the methodological implications of this stance suggests that certain text analytic and cluster analytic methods could be used to discern the identifying properties of different types of experience. We present results of a study in which textual analysis was used to identify recurrent properties of participants' verbal accounts of their experience, cluster analysis was used to classify participants' accounts according to the similarity of their profiles of properties, and the resulting clusters were examined for their more or less characteristic prpoerties. Using these methods, three distinct types of experience of a Renaissance painting were identified and described. This demonstration of numerically aided phenomenological methods indicates the compatibility of rigorous and sensitive descriptions of experiential accounts
Keywords empirical phenomenology
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