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Int J Nurs Stud. 2001 Feb;38(1):1-8.

The complementarity of phenomenology, hermeneutics and existentialism as a philosophical perspective for nursing research.

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Institute of Health and Community Studies, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth House, 17 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth BH1 3LG, UK.


The focus of this paper draws on the thinking of Husserl, Dilthey and Heidegger to identify elements of the phenomenological movement that can provide focus and direction for qualitative research in nursing. The authors interpret this tradition in two ways: emphasizing the possible complementarity of phenomenology, hermeneutics and existentialism, and demonstrating how these emphases ask for grounding, reflexivity and humanization in qualitative research. The paper shows that the themes of grounding, reflexivity and humanization are particularly important for nursing research.

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