Phenomenology Online

A Resource for Phenomenological Inquiry

Doing phenomenology involves two types of inquiry activities: empirical and reflective methods.


In this inquiry model we are making a distinction between methodology (the reductio and the vocatio) and methods (empirical and reflective methods). Strictly speaking, the reductio and the vocatio are also referred to as “methods,” but more in the sense of philosophical methods or general attitude. In this section we describe the more procedural methods or activities that the researcher may employ in particular investigations.

Phenomenological inquiry methods cannot be formalized into a series of technical procedures. However, a variety of activities may be identified that can help in doing phenomenological inquiry. These activities fall into two types: empirical and reflective methods. Empirical inquiry activities aim to explore the range and varieties of prereflective experiential material that is appropriate for the phenomenon under study. Reflective inquiry activities aim to interpret the aspects of meaning or meaningfulness that are asociated with this phenomenon.