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Hermeneutics of Self as a Research Approach

International Institute for Qualitative Methodology
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  • Health Sciences
  • Nursing
  • Cultural Studies
  • International Studies
  • Religious Science


Circumstances shaped the decision to engage in a hermeneutics of self. In contrast to a common research approach, the researcher became the participant. The purpose of the research was to reveal interpretive meaning of that experience toward the view of becoming a global coworker. Philosophical insights informing the methodological approach and the analysis were drawn from Heidegger, Gadamer, and theological authors. Twelve people drawn from a variety of backgrounds were invited to interview the researcher following a 3-week field visit to explore HIV/AIDs in Malawi. Interviews were transcribed and analysis achieved through THREADs: Thinking Hermeneutically and Reflecting through the Experience, Asking questions while Dwelling in the everyday. For the researcher the experience was at times painful but deeply rewarding. The insights that emerged provide a mirror through which intending global coworkers can consider their own assumptions, values, and motivations. Such an approach is worthy of adding to the research repertoire.

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