Engineering and Physics Faculty Research and Publications

Title

Exploring Tensions of Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis in a Domain with Conflicting Cultural Practices

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Qualitative Research in Psychology

Publication Date

1-15-2019

Volume

16

Issue

2

First Page

305

Last Page

324

Abstract

The philosophical foundations of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA)—phenomenology, hermeneutics, and idiography—guide its practice and use. However, this foundation is often at odds with cultural practices of disciplines that value post-positivist perspectives emphasizing that reality can be objectively known. The conflict between the philosophical underpinnings of the methodology and the cultural practices of particular disciplines can serve to limit the use and acceptance of IPA. This article highlights ways researchers can use IPA even when the underlying tenets of that methodological approach may be in conflict with disciplinary norms. As such, we have set out to explore the tensions that accompany the choice to use IPA in the context of engineering education research within the United States. As a group of engineering education researchers, we drew upon collaborative inquiry to systematically examine our use of IPA. Our exploration of using IPA, as connected to everyday practice in a discipline that takes a postpositivist stance toward knowledge generation, provides examples for the use of IPA in tension with these disciplinary norms.

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Routledge

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