Journal of Professional Nursing

Engaging With Radical Hermeneutics: An Interview With Margaret Southwick

Lynne S. Giddings, RGON, RM, 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

Reference:  Giddings, L. S. & Wood, P. J. (2001). Engaging with radical hermeneutics: An interview with Margaret Southwick. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, (17)1, 4-15. 


Nurses and midwives in Aotearoa/New Zealand have used and developed a broad range of research methodologies when exploring aspects of practice. This is the third 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 radical hermeneutics as interpreted by Margaret Southwick (RGON, BA) in interview. Margaret used radical hermeneutics for her PhD thesis to explore Pacific women’s stories of becoming a nurse.  

Research, methodologies, radical hermeneutics, hermeneutics, phenomenology, Pacific nurses, marginality   

Radical hermeneutics as a research methodology is a relative newcomer to the list of methodologies that use the term ‘hermeneutics’. This article, the third 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). A brief description of the more commonly used phenomenological and hermeneutic interpretive and critical methodologies is provided as a framework to understand the unique approach developed by Margaret Southwick. This is followed by a firsthand account of how Margaret, a Pacific/Palagi nurse, used radical hermeneutics to explore issues of marginality as reflected in Pacific women’s stories of becoming a nurse. Continued 

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