Handbook of Theory and Methods in Applied Health Research
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Handbook of Theory and Methods in Applied Health Research

Questions, Methods and Choices

Edited by Catherine Walshe and Sarah Brearley

This Handbook expertly instructs the reader on how to conduct applied health research across a number of disciplines. Particularly aimed at postgraduate health researchers and students of applied health research, it presents and explains a wide range of research designs and other contemporary issues in applied health research.
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Chapter 8: Thinking about, doing and writing up research using interpretative phenomenological analysis

Craig D. Murray and David J. Wilde

Abstract

This chapter primarily examines the data collection and analysis method of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) in which individuals’ experiences, and their meaning-making about their experiences, are the centre of research attention. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was developed with the vision to return the study of lived experience to the centre ground of research attention by cultivating a phenomenologically based methodology that was inherently psychological in nature. Interpretative phenomenological analysis treats language as disclosing participants’ being-in-the-world, and the meanings of this for them. It is an approach intended to explore how participants’ experience their world, and hence enable an insider’s perspective of the topic under study. This approach has emerged out of a set of philosophical and theoretical traditions that have given rise to a suite of qualitative research methods that can be characterized as phenomenological, or concerned with lived experience. This chapter examines the history and philosophical underpinnings of these phenomenological approaches, the key characteristics of IPA and practical considerations in conducting an IPA study.

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