Waikato Journal of Education
Journal cover




Phenomenology is a methodological approach to research that has been broadly influential on established qualitative and interpretative perspectives. Founded in the work of German philosophers, it offers challenges in both understanding and practice. These stem, in part, from the requirement of the researcher to actively seek personal and deep meaning from those who are studied; and from the embedded requirement to acknowledge researcher influence and involvement in the research process. Through engaging in a phenomenological investigation into spiritual leisure, I realized the potential of research to be both personally fulfilling, and an empowering experience for myself as a researcher and as a person. A significant aspect of the research process that contributed to this was the lived experience of getting to know myself and knowing others as I simultaneously 'let go and let be'. Shared through this paper is a selection of experiences that exemplify that edifying process, including the emergent need to focus on letting go of personal doubts, aspects of my research training and research expectations in order to be able to conduct a detailed research project and to take on the challenges of phenomenology itself. With phenomenology embedded in encouraging researchers to let down our shields and engage with research that is personally relevant, my own experience revealed that research can be more than finding out, it can also include an embracing of not knowing. In such ways it is suggested that research is not just a process of data collection but a potential forum for becoming more whole as people as we actively reflect, know ourselves and see the world through others' eyes.


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