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Phenomenology - Telling a Story: An Interview With Liz Smythe   

Lynne S. Giddings, RGON, RM, MN, PhD, Associate Professor School of Nursing and Midwifery, Auckland University of Technology   

Pamela J. Wood, RGON, PhD, Senior Lecturer Graduate School of Nursing and Midwifery, Victoria University of Wellington  

Abstract   

Phenomenology is probably the most common interpretive qualitative research methodology used in nursing and midwifery research in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This is the fifth article in a series based on interviews with nursing and midwifery researchers, designed to offer the beginning researcher a first-hand account of the experience of using particular methodologies. This article focuses on phenomenology as interpreted by Liz Smythe (RGON, RM, PhD) in interview. Liz teaches phenomenological and hermeneutic philosophies and methodologies at the postgraduate level at the Auckland University of Technology. She used Heideggerian hermeneutical phenomenology for her PhD thesis to explore the issue of ‘safety’ in childbirth.   

Key Words: Research, methodologies, hermeneutics, phenomenology, Heideggerian Hermeneutic Phenomenology   

Introduction    

Phenomenology as a research methodology is probably the most well known of a group of methodologies that are listed under the term ‘interpretive’ or ‘hermeneutic’ qualitative research. This article, the fifth in a series based on interviews with nursing and midwifery researchers, offers the beginning researcher a brief introduction to this research approach (refer to Giddings and Wood (2000) for background information on the series). It will link with the article on radical hermeneutics (Giddings & Wood, 2001) and briefly explore the relationship between phenomenology and hermeneutics. An interview with Liz Smythe (RGON, RM, PhD), a midwifery and postgraduate teacher at the Auckland University of Technology, will then follow. Liz moved from Masters study directly into her PhD and used Heideggerian hermeneutic phenomenology to explore the issue of ‘safety’ in childbirth. 

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