Phenomenology Online

A Resource for Phenomenological Inquiry

Collaborative Reflection

Reflections on the thematic and narrative dimensions of a phenomenological text may be conducted collaboratively, by a research group or participants of a seminar.


Collaborative reflective discussions are helpful in generating deeper insights and understandings. For example, one participant researching a certain phenomenon will read a first (second, third, or fourth) draft of his or her phenomenological text. Other participants can then share their views of the way the description does or does not resonate with their experiences. Themes and insights can thus be examined, articulated, re-interpreted, omitted, added, or reformulated. And the phenomenological research text under discussion can be read aloud to highlight its vocative dimensions.


There are many formal and informal ways that researchers or authors may seek collaborative assistance in their writing. The research group or seminar circle is a formal way for convening and gathering the interpretive insights of others to a research text. But there are also less formal ways of testing one’s work–such as sharing the text with advisers, reviewers, colleagues, or friends. Whether formal or informal, what one seeks in a conversational relation with others is a common orientation to the notion of the phenomenon that one is studying. Gadamer describes the method of a conversational relation as “the art of testing” which means a reflective questioning: to lay open, to place in the open the subject matter of the conversation.