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Doing it differently: Engaging interview participants with imaginative variation

journal contribution
posted on 18.03.2020, 00:00 by Emma Turley, S Monro, N King
Imaginative variation was identified by Husserl (1936/1970) as a phenomenological technique for the purpose of elucidating the manner in which phenomena appear to consciousness. Briefly, by engaging in the phenomenological reduction and using imaginative variation, phenomenologists are able to describe the experience of consciousness, having stepped outside of the natural attitude through the epochē. Imaginative variation is a stage aimed at explicating the structures of experience, and is best described as a mental experiment. Features of the experience are imaginatively altered in order to view the phenomenon under investigation from varying perspectives. Husserl argued that this process will reveal the essences of an experience, as only those aspects that are invariant to the experience of the phenomenon will not be able to change through the variation. Often in qualitative research interviews, participants struggle to articulate or verbalise their experiences. The purpose of this article is to detail a radical and novel way of using imaginative variation with interview participants, by asking the participants to engage with imaginative variation, in order to produce a rich and insightful experiential account of a phenomenon. We will discuss how the first author successfully used imaginative variation in this way in her study of the erotic experience of bondage, discipline, dominance & submission, and sadism & masochism (BDSM), before considering the usefulness of this technique when applied to areas of study beyond sexuality.

History

Volume

16

Issue

1-2

Start Page

153

End Page

162

Number of Pages

10

eISSN

1445-7377

ISSN

2079-7222

Publisher

National Inquiry Services Centre, South Africa

Additional Rights

CC BY NC ND 4.0

Language

en

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

Yes

External Author Affiliations

University of Huddersfield, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

Era Eligible

Yes

Journal

Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

Usage metrics

CQUniversity

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