I have learned so much during this research project. I highly recommend that PhD students engage in their own research early on in their studies. It makes the process so much clearer.
According to Merriam Webster, phenomenology is:
1: the study of the development of human consciousness and self-awareness as a preface to or a part of philosophy or 2: a philosophical movement that describes the formal structure of the objects of awareness and of awareness itself in abstraction from any claims concerning existence
In simpler words, it’s about understanding the structure of lived experience.
My research is a phenomenological study of human consciousness states as experienced through meditation. So my project is the study of the self-awareness of human consciousness.
I have interviewed five of six participants so far. I recorded the interviews using a digital voice recorder, which worked very well. The recorder came with software, which I used to translate the recording to .WAV format. I sent the .WAV files off to a transcriptionist, who sent back MS Word documents of the interview transcripts.
This is what I learned about capturing narrative in order to study the experiential phenomenon of meditation:
- Keep the questions open-ended so the participant is free to expand their narrative
- Don’t respond with my own commentary or insights (that comes later during the analysis)
- Keep steering the interview toward the experience of the phenomena (what was it like? how did you feel? what did you hear, see, taste, smell?)
I’m now starting to analyze the narratives. More on the next post.