Description vs. interpretation – a new understanding of an old dilemma in human science research

Caring Science, Växjö University, School of Health Science and Social Work, SE-351 95 Växjö, Sweden.
Nursing Philosophy (Impact Factor: 0.83). 11/2004; 5(3):268-73. DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-769X.2004.00180.x
Source: PubMed
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    • "However, as researchers we have to switch to a reflective attitude that is to be critical about how we experience the world, i.e. the research phenomenon (Dahlberg et al., 2008). The researchers' approach to the phenomenon was on the one hand open and on the other hand bridled, thus allowing the phenomenon to be what it is and not what it is supposed to be (Dahlberg & Dahlberg, 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to explore the meaning of suffering and relief from suffering as described in autobiographies by tourists who experienced the tsunami on 26 December 2004 and lost loved ones. A lifeworld approach, inspired by the French philosopher Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of perception, was chosen for the theoretical framework. This catastrophe totally changed the survivors' world within a moment. In this new world, there were three main phases: the power of remaining focused, a life of despair, and the unbearable becoming bearable. Life turns into a matter of making the unbearable bearable. Such challenging experiences are discussed in terms of the philosophy of Weil, Jaspers, and Merleau-Ponty. The survivors of the tsunami catastrophe were facing a boundary situation and "le malheur," the unthinkable misfortune. Even at this lowest level of misfortune, joy is possible to experience. This is part of the survivors' ambivalent experiences of their lifeworld. In this world of the uttermost despair there are also rays of hope, joy, and new life possibilities.
    International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being 10/2010; 5(3). DOI:10.3402/qhw.v5i3.5323 · 0.93 Impact Factor
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    • "The interviewer tried to be open to the informants' descriptions, but at the same time she tried to bridle her own pre-understanding to gain a new understanding of the phenomenon (cf. Dahlberg & Dahlberg, 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: To reformulate and adjust to their life-situation, women living with heart failure (HF) need help and support. However, the actual meaning of the phenomenon of support is not yet well described. The aim of the study was to uncover the meaning of the phenomenon of support as experienced by women living with HF in middle age. A reflective lifeworld approach within the perspective of caring science was used. Six women (aged 33Á61 years) were interviewed. The findings show that the essence of support can be understood as safety, depicted by understanding. However, there is tension between what is supportive and what is not, meaning that even though intentions are good, intended support may involve limitations, uncertainties or insecurity. The meaning of support is further illuminated in the following constituents: ''knowledge and understanding'', ''finding balance'', ''ambiguity of relationships'' and ''support and formal care*a matter of trust and mistrust''. Findings demonstrate the need for carers to find an approach that ensures both good quality medical care and, at the same time, acknowledges the uniqueness of each individual.
    International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being 07/2009; 3(1). DOI:10.1080/17482620701714780 · 0.93 Impact Factor
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    • "However, Dahlberg and Dahlberg hold the stance that the debate is artificial and a result of misunderstandings . From readings of Husserl and Merleau- Ponty (Dahlberg & Dalhberg, 2004), they conclude that explicating a phenomenon's general structure can never be an act of interpretation, and that linking interpretation to the description of essences might be based on incorrect reading of Heidegger. However, a phenomenological analysis can be carried out in several ways. "
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    ABSTRACT: Phenomenography is a research approach developed from an educational framework. However, practised in other areas this research approach can be misunderstood as seems to be the case in some reports on allegedly phenomenographic studies. In this article, the authors show how the phenomenographic approach differs from a phenomenological one, using as an example an interview study on anaesthesiologists’ understanding of work. Having performed both a phenomenographic and a phenomenological analysis of the same transcripts, the researchers compared the results from the two approaches. The result of the phenomenographic study was four ways of understanding work: (a) monitoring and controlling the patient's vital functions; (b) guiding the patient safely through the operation; (c) serving patients, other doctors and nurses; (d) leading the operating theatre and team. The phenomenological analysis showed the essence of being an anaesthesiologist: Carrying the responsibility for the patient's vital functions; always being alert, watching carefully over the patient's body, ready to act whenever the patient's life is in danger, however difficult the circumstances. The authors discuss the differences between the two research approaches, stressing the value of phenomenographic studies in educational settings as well as its limited value in research on patients’ experiences of illness.
    International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being 07/2009; 2(1):55-64. DOI:10.1080/17482620601068105 · 0.93 Impact Factor
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