Phenomenology Online

A Resource for Phenomenological Inquiry

The methodological reduction: approach

Method: Bracket all established investigative methods or techniques and seek or invent an approach that seems to fit most appropriately the phenomenological topic under study.


One needs to invent a flexible narrative rationality, a method for investigating and representing the phenomenon in question. One must experiment with a methodologically informed inventiveness that fuses the reflective and the prereflective life of consciousness. This rationality should strive to present phenomenological meanings in textual forms “re-cognizable” (feelingly knowable).


In trying out different forms of writing and different ways of organizing the phenomenological text one needs to be aware of the factor of contingency that makes a strong phenomenological text fragile and vulnerable. It is ironic that the stronger a text is the more easily can it be damaged or destroyed by carelessness with respect to its form and content. It may be helpful to examine exemplary phenomenological studies. What makes this text strong and insightful? How would this work with an other topic?


The phenomenological challenge is to create a text that is in some sense iconic in its entirety. This also means that the writer needs to become aware of the potential effects of the text on different readers. How should the basic phenomenological question be opened up? How is it possible to maintain a sense of wonder about the phenomena? How to bring about the proper tension between the concrete and the universal dimensions of the text? How to bring the text to a deepened sense of meaning? Therefore, The reduction is not an end in itself–rather, the reduction is a means to an end: to be able to return to the world as lived in an enriched and deepened fashion.