Understanding More Fully: A Multimodal Hermeneutic-Phenomenological Approach

Boden, Zoë and Eatough, Virginia (2014). Understanding More Fully: A Multimodal Hermeneutic-Phenomenological Approach. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 11(2) pp. 160–177.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14780887.2013.853854


This article shares a research methodology that we argue supports human science researchers in their aim to understand lived experiences more fully. Drawing on Merleau-Pontian thinking, the article outlines three dimensions of sense experience that underpin our approach: the felt-sense, aesthetic aspects of language, and visual imagery. We then detail this approach: the data-collection phase is a creative interviewing method, adapted from Imagery in Movement Method (Schneier 1989) and focusing technique (Gendlin 1997). This results in multimodal data: drawings, and bodily and verbal accounts, rich in imagery. The analysis is an expanded hermeneutic-phenomenology, and in this article we focus in particular on our method for interpreting visual data. Three examples taken from a case-study about feeling guilty are provided to illustrate the potential of the approach. The article concludes with some reflections on the impact of using a multimodal approach in human science research.

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