The quality of Husserlian phenomenological research in the health sciences

a methodological systematic review

Catalin Tufanaru, Melanie Attard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The objective of this systematic review is to provide a narrative summary synthesis of the quality of existing Husserlian phenomenological research studies in the health sciences. As a methodological systematic review, only studies that focus on adult patients' experiences of preventive, screening, diagnosis, treatment or rehabilitation interventions/procedures will be considered to serve as a paradigm “case” of the use of the Husserlian phenomenological approach within the broad field of health.

The review question is: What is the quality of existing Husserlian phenomenological research studies in the health sciences?

The motivation for this systematic review is not to fault authors of existing Husserlian phenomenological research, but to explore the problems encountered in existing research literature, if any, and to provide guidance to authors for future health research guided by this specific philosophical perspective.

In order to avoid repetition, the term ‘Husserlian phenomenological approach’ as used in the text refers to the approach described by Edmund Husserl in English translations of hisblished work; or as described in English language commentaries by internationally recognized scholars; or from Husserlian phenomenological scholars including the structured framework presented by Spiegelberg. Each time the ‘content of Husserlian phenomenological research studies’ is used in the text it should be understood to mean ‘content of Husserlian phenomenological research studies as reflected in the stated philosophical perspective, research methodology, data collection methods, data analysis methods, presentation and interpretation of the results, and the conclusions’.

Definition of terms:

Husserlian phenomenological research studies refers to primary qualitative research studies that are explicitly grounded in the work of Husserl reflected in explicit statements or descriptions by the authors.
Quality refers to the extent to which there is congruence between the Husserlian phenomenological approach and the content of Husserlian phenomenological research studies.
These stipulative definitions are intended to preclude the need to cite the scientific literature as there is no need to demonstrate their ‘validity’ or ‘acceptability’ by the communities of scholars. These definitions are not based on consensus across qualitative research communities; rather, they are presented as useful stipulative definitions that underpin the protocol and serve to avoid confusion regarding the use of the terms in the specific context of this systematic review.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports
Issue number28 Supplement
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

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