The quest to understand the lived experience and the philosophical structures of experience and consciousness is the focus of a movement that began in the early years of the 20th Century. The movement is called phenomenology because the movement explores the lived experience of phenomena. Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger were two of the prominent philosophers who developed this method of inquiry though each took a significantly different philosophical approach to understanding human experience. In this assignment, you will discuss the psychology research methods that emerged from the philosophies of Husserl and Heidegger and the researchers who developed those methods.
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Write a paper (1,250-1,500 words) in which you discuss both the phenomenological research methods in psychology that emerged from the philosophies of Husserl and Heidegger and the theorists/psychologists who developed those methods. Include the following in your paper:
- A discussion of at least two phenomenological research methods that emerged from the phenomenological philosophy of Husserl. What were the central tenets of each method? What is known about the theorists/psychologists who developed each method?
- A discussion of at least two phenomenological research methods that emerged from the phenomenological philosophy of Heidegger. What were the central tenets of each method? What is known about the theorists/psychologists who developed each method?
- A contrast of the primary differences among the phenomenological research methods identified above. How does each method address approaches to data gathering, data analysis, and the role of the researcher?
- A research-based statement of and rationale for the method you believe allows the best understanding of human experience.
Phenomenology in psychology involves studying subjective experiences at a personal level. Philosophers apply different research methods when it comes to studying individual experiences; however, it is always challenging to identify the quality of a particular experience for one to come up with effective conclusions (Horrigan-Kelly, Dowling & Millar, 2017). In most cases, it is hard to believe in the possibility individuals having similar experiences for a given phenomenon. As such, this indicates that the phenomenology research results can only be applied to one person and should not be a reflection of other people, despite the similarity (Sousa, 2014). Various philosophers, including Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, have developed phenomenological methods of research to explain how experiences affect individuals separately. Husserl and Heidegger have significantly contributed to the study by proposing and examining various research methods hence providing a starting point for other philosophers. To get the most viable method of understanding human experiences, major emphasis will be placed on reviewing Husserl and Heidegger’s work and their contribution to development of phenomenological research methods.
Phenomenological Research Philosophy for Husserl
Edmund Husserl is regarded as one of the most significant philosophers when it comes to phenomenological studies. Compared to other studies, Husserl’s studies on phenomenology created a system to govern the science, hence forming a new perspective that separated it from other philosophies (Horrigan-Kelly, Dowling & Millar, 2017). He developed various research methods, one of them being the genetic concept, which was derived from inner-time consciousness theory. According to Applebee (2011), Husserl used this concept as a way of uncovering the beginning of intentional motivations, which can either be as a result of reason, or pre-predicative.
Husserl also applied Descriptive Phenomenological Method in studying psychology. The concept, which was initially proposed by Amedeo Giorgi, factors in both interpretive and descriptive moments that must be applied in any research process (Applebaum, 2011). the central tenant of this method is indicating the need to integrate descriptive and interpretive aspects of descriptive phenomenological research method. Husserl also applied neurophenomenology as another research method, which combines first person science with his phenomenology philosophies. The method applies scientifically verifiable methods in examining individual conscious experiences, as well as studying the mind by combining phenomenology with neuroscience (Sousa, 2014). Neurophenomenology was first introduced by Francisco Varela who was a trained biologist, a philosopher, as well as a mathematician. He supported the idea of human consciousness and cognition through enactive structures that may arise (Horrigan-Kelly, Dowling & Millar, 2017).
Phenomenological Research Philosophy for Martin Heidegger
Husserl’s research methods are highly challenged by Heidegger, whose ideas are termed as a combination of contextualism and phenomenology. Unlike Husserl, Heidegger rejects the idea of human beings being regarded as spectators of objects, with his arguments being based on the assumption that objects and subjects are inseparable(Horrigan-Kelly, Dowling & Millar, 2017). From Heidegger’s perspective of philosophy, an individual’s existence involves being in the world where one is embedded and inseparable from the world. His work mostly disregards Husserl’s view of transcendental ego and one of his proposed methods of phenomenological reduction. He describes ‘being ‘ as a matter of choice, where individuals are in a position to investigate their kind of being, by first identifying ho they understand the factor of being(Horrigan-Kelly, Dowling & Millar, 2017).
Like Husserl, Heidegger also inspired various research methods of philosophy, one of them being Interpretative phenomenological analysis. The central tenet of interpretative analysis is to show how in certain phenomenon different individuals make sense of situations and how they respond to such situations. Such a phenomenon, according to Heidegger, may arise from personal issues such as life events. The interpretative phenomenological analysis applies qualitative research where data gathering techniques involve interviewing participants and from journal entries (Applebaum, 2011). As a philosopher, Heidegger identified these research methods as unique since it not only focuses on the psychological components affecting an individual, but also idiographic and interpretive components. Interpretive analysis has also been applied in other areas beyond phenomenology to be used in occupational psychology (Horrigan-Kelly, Dowling & Millar, 2017). The method was proposed by Jonathan smith with the aim of promoting qualitative research in social and health psychology.
Heidegger also inspired phenomenological anthropology as a research method. He adopted an existentialist approach used in psychoanalysis, which argues that the existence of human beings involves being open to any experiences, if not all (Applebaum, 2011). the central tenet of this research method, as emphasized by Heidegger, is to show that that there is no gap between the human mind and measurable matter. For the study, participants are meant to think of themselves as being alone with their self while being in the paradox of being in a relationship with other humans but that they are ultimately alone. He also combines phenomenological approach as proposed by Husserl with existentialism to analyze human experiences (Horrigan-Kelly, Dowling & Millar, 2017). He describes phenomenology as letting things be seen in the way they present themselves. Unlike Husserl, Heidegger did not use phenomenology as a tool to analyze consciousness. By seeing things in their natural form without further analysis, he implied separation form consciousness.
Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger are regarded as two of the most influential philosophers that had significant mark in developing and inspiring other psychologists in phenomenology. Their studies have inspired other research methods in an attempt to understand how individuals experience and respond to different phenomena. Although both philosophers had a similar agenda to understand human experiences, they both had different journeys and perceptions, as observed by the different approaches they applied in explaining human experiences (Horrigan-Kelly, Dowling, & Millar, 2017). The methods and theories applied by both Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger have enabled development of more research methods in various areas, especially in phenomenology.
In both cases, Heidegger and Husserl applied similar themes in phenomenological research since they both use qualitative and inductive research methods. The ideas of the two philosophers indicate that applying quantitative measure is not sufficient to ensure that there is free flow of information between the participant and the researcher. Further, they agree that reality on subjectivity and it is not fixed (Horrigan-Kelly, Dowling & Millar, 2017). The methods used to gather data are also similar since they both use journal entries and interviews. As Horrigan-Kelly, Dowling and Millar (2017) note, interviewing is regarded as the best method of information gathering when working an individual basis. Nonetheless, in cases where research methods vary, they still aim at reaching a similar goal. Besides, the philosophers also agree on a type of psychology that looks within an individual instead of forcing medication on the said subject.
Heidegger and Husserl’s ideas differ based on the applicability of individual experiences. While Husserl believed that phenomenology is rooted in an individual’s negated assumptions and perceptions of a given subject, Heidegger formed an interpretive approach whose main concept focused on being in the world, instead of striving to know it. Husserl focuses on a Descriptive Phenomenological Method, which incorporates interpretive and descriptive moments from an individual point. Heidegger, on the other hand, looks into Interpretative phenomenological analysis, which mainly interprets how individuals react in various situations (Sousa, 2014). He emphasizes on focusing on one’s self despite being surrounded by other people. Although both philosophers apply methods that are unique and different, they both focus on a common goal of offering assistance that focus on an individual and not on the surrounding.
Best Understanding of Human Experience
Heidegger provides the best understanding of human experience through interpretative phenomenological analysis. This form of qualitative research enables a researcher to understand how one would react if they are put in a set of circumstances and the reaction to certain phenomenon. By applying this method, one is able to use extensive research to get a better understanding of how people react to situations. Although phenomenologist understand and agree on the need to use medication for certain illnesses, the also provide other alternatives that reach similar conclusions as medication. Such alternatives have proven to be equally helpful in understanding human experiences, which are highly fascinating and are better understood through phenomenology.
Applebaum, M. H. (2011). Amedeo Giorgi and Psychology as a Human
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Horrigan-Kelly, M., Dowling, M., & Millar, M. (2017). Understanding the Key Tenets of
Heidegger’s Philosophy for Interpretive Phenomenological Research. International Journal Of Qualitative Methods, 15(1),
Sousa, D. (2014). Phenomenological Psychology: Husserl’s Static and Genetic
Methods. Journal Of Phenomenological Psychology, 45(1), 27-60. doi:10.1163/15691624-12341267