Phenomenological Psychology: Scope and Methodology

Lecture by Magnus Englander, Dept. of Social Work, Malmö University, Sweden & James Morley, The School of Social Science and Human Services, Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA.


This presentation will offer a synopsis of the historical development of Phenomenological Psychology, circumscribe its scope and offer a brief sample of how phenomenological psychologists collect and elucidate concrete life world descriptions.

In terms of scope, while Phenomenological Psychology is based on phenomenological epistemology (or theory of science) it is yet more focused on what Husserl calls the region of the ‘psychological’ reduction (as distinct from most of phenomenological philosophy) and the ‘irreal’ or more-than-sensory aspects of experience (unlike most of naturalistic psychology). In this way, phenomenological psychology’s disciplinary autonomy from both phenomenological philosophy and naturalistic psychology rests on the issue of methodology.

While applications of phenomenological psychological methodology may vary, it will be maintained that certain key constituents should be present for a psychological method to be rigorously phenomenological: the epoche’, the psychological reduction, eidetic analysis, and generalizability.

Time permitting, a brief example of a concrete data analysis will be offered.