Empirical phenomenology: principles and method

Judith A. Sixsmith, Andrew J. Sixsmith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


It is argued that phenomenological and empirical approaches to research are not antithetical. As long as its central principles are maintained, phenomenological enquiry could benefit from a more rigorous empirical framework. There are two objectives behind this paper. The first aim is to define the minimum methodological requirements of an "empirical phenomenology" for social sciences. This involves finding a common ground between phenomenological research on the one hand, and more empirical, "mainstream" social science on the other. The second aim is to define a suitable methodological tool that will fulfil the prerequisites of an empirical phenomenology. The Multiple Sorting Task (MST) is seen as appropriate in this respect and a description of the principles and procedure of the MST is provided. Examples from the authors' own research are used to illustrate how the MST operates within an empirical-phenomenological research design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-333
Number of pages21
JournalQuality and Quantity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1987


  • Social Science
  • Research Design
  • Common Ground
  • Empirical Approach
  • Methodological Tool

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