A phenomenological dissertation is a dissertation with strong philosophical origins. Conducting research on this subject can be overwhelming for novice researchers. The novice researchers are already confused due to a plethora of research methodologies currently in use. This makes the selection of a particular methodology difficult for them. Keeping this in mind, today’s article is all about phenomenological research and how to write a dissertation on this subject. Being a philosophical origin dissertation, writing it is very challenging. Therefore, along with its definition, there will also be a description of the top 10 tips for writing this dissertation. So, let’s get started with the definition.
What is a phenomenological dissertation?
It is a qualitative research dissertation in which the researcher talks about the lived experiences of an individual. This dissertation focuses mainly on studying a phenomenon that has impacted the life of an individual. It is a kind of narrative dissertation in which the researcher captures the specifics of the phenomenon and identifies the individual’s perception of that particular phenomenon. Mostly, this dissertation is written to capture the emotions, feelings, and states of a person. However, it can also be helpful in studying the behavioural commonalities in a group of people.
An example of a phenomenological dissertation can be a dissertation on the mental state of a World War II veteran. As a researcher, you may be interested in conducting research on the survival strategies of World War II veterans. What did they use to eat and drink during the war? So, documenting all these things is a dissertation on phenomenology.
Writing tips to follow when writing a phenomenological dissertation
Phenomenological research has its roots in psychology, education, and philosophy. These three distinct but very important fields of study join to make a new field, i.e., phenomenology. The aim of this research is to document the purest of data that no other researcher has obtained before. Now, the question is how to document this data? How to write a dissertation on the concept of phenomenology? Hence, a brief description of the top writing tips is as follows:
1. How to begin?
So, you have decided to write a phenomenological dissertation. Good to hear this. So, the first tip that I am going to give you is that start writing your dissertation with the introduction chapter. Do you not know how to begin? Do not worry; starting off the dissertation is very easy. Just define this dissertation first and then list down its purpose. The purpose should be about the central issue that you are going to address. For example, if you are documenting the mental state and emotions of World War II veterans, start by giving some previous information about the such phenomenon. If you don’t know how to begin in a proper way, get dissertation help online from expert writers.
2. Writing the literature review
The next step is to write the literature review. It is also going to be the second chapter of your dissertation. To write this chapter, make sure that you have a previous understanding of the fore-conceptions of the phenomenon. This is important to make the theoretical framework of the dissertation. In the case of a theoretical framework, you have two options mainly.
- Husserl – Transcendental phenomenology
- Heidegger – Hermeneutic phenomenology
These are the two theoretical frameworks mostly used in this dissertation. However, if you add an additional framework, you must Heidegger.
3. Methodology of the dissertation
It is probably the most important section of your phenomenological dissertation. The methodology section explains which method you have used to capture the lived experiences of the individuals. Normally, the basis of this dissertation is a single case study or a pool of samples. In either case, the following three are the methods mostly used in this dissertation:
- Observing the subject of interest or accessing the written records about it
- Conducting the open-ended or close-ended interviews and making the subject open up about his experiences.
- Action research is also a great way to capture the real-time data
4. No personal biases
This is a potential drawback of this dissertation that the researcher’s bias can influence the overall research process. The reason is that it is a dissertation based on the personal experiences of the researcher or someone else. So, it is very easy for the researcher to incorporate the ideas that he likes or thinks as the right ideas. So, the 4th writing tip is that the researcher’s bias must be explicit and should not play any role in the dissertation writing process.
5. Do not forget the 4 steps of phenomenology
Phenomenological studies are often based on the 4 core ideas of bracketing, intuition, analysing, and describing. If you forget to mention these 4 core steps, know that your phenomenological dissertation is incomplete. However, what do these 4 steps mean? A brief description is as follows;
- Bracketing. It is the step where the researcher identifies the pre-conceptions and beliefs that exist about the phenomenon.
- Intuition. Once bracketing is done, the researcher focuses on the attributed meaning of the phenomenon defined by preceded researchers.
- Analysing. Analysis of the phenomenon is the 3rd In this step, you must code the definitions, themes, and ideas obtained through intuition.
- Describing. It is the most critical step of any phenomenological study. It is where the researcher describes the phenomenon comprehensively.
6. Intriguing research questions
Last but not least tip is to craft research questions that have the ability to intrigue the readers. They must be relevant and should start with curiosity about what it is like for a person to have a particular experience. For example, suppose you are documenting the mental state of World War II veterans. In that case, your research questions must pique the reader’s interest and must compel him to read the phenomenological dissertation.
Conclusively, a phenomenological dissertation is a dissertation on an individual’s lived experiences. Using the methods of action research, observation, or interviews, this dissertation talks about the state of mind in which the individuals were during the phenomenon. I have outlined the top 6 tips above to write this dissertation. So, read them and craft a perfect dissertation.