Creating categories of description using phenomenographic data : an example of analytical process
chapterposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Lois Harris
Phenomenography is a research specialisation used to map the qualitatively different ways people experience the same phenomenon. Highlighting the variation in the ways people experience their world can give fruitful insight into their thoughts and behaviours. While there are hundreds of published phenomenographic studies, few address theoretical and methodological issues in a concrete, explicit way. This gap in the literature has led to criticism of the phenomenographic approach. This paper addresses this gap by reviewing key literature on phenomenographic theory and preferred methods of analysis. To produce quality results, phenomenographers must bracket preconceived ideas, deal with data holistically and contextually, and frequently challenge their understanding of the data to discover other ways of interpreting it. Data from a current study on engagement in learning is used to exemplify this process, demonstrating to the reader one way of producing valid and communicable categories of description.