Volume 18, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1385-1535
  • E-ISSN: 1875-7324


Phenomenography: describing the world from a second order perspective

Phenomenography: describing the world from a second order perspective

In the 1970s a Swedish group of educational phenomena researchers developed a new methodology to access individuals’ perceptions of various concepts in learning. This approach, phenomenography, focused on collecting sets of hierarchically related conceptions of a variety of concepts, so-called categories of description through empathic qualitative analysis of interviews or in our case written responses. The categories of description provide an access to the world as it is perceived by the researched, the second order perspective. Using research into learning and teaching conceptions (Van Rossum & Hamer, 2010), the characteristics of the methodology, the data collection through a phenomenographic interview or email conversation as well as the outcomes are illustrated. Two commonly used analysis approaches, the pool of meanings (Marton, 1986) as well as the whole of transcript approach (Bowden & Green, 2007), are discussed and multiple common measures of reliability and validity are presented. Finally the phenomenographic method is compared to phenomenology and grounded theory approach.


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