Engineering and Physics Faculty Research and Publications


From Methods to Methodology: Reflection on Keeping the Philosophical Commitments of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



This paper details the transition of one researcher in his journey from attending to the methods of research to identifying and enacting the methodology of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). In the backdrop of this paper is a larger qualitative study that is employing IPA to understand a rich picture of how engineering student become engineers, particularly by attending to the fuzzy boundaries between technical and social features of this identity. To ground the discussion of the paper, we draw on a transcript from a single interview in this study conducted with Kevin, a graduating mechanical engineer. We transparently share a reflexive account of conducting IPA research in order to introduce IPA as an excellent research tool for open areas of engineering education research. Further, our goals are to instill confidence in novice qualitative researchers as they embark on the arduous but rewarding path of conducting engineering education research using qualitative methods.


This paper was presented at the 2014 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference held October 22-25, 2014.

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