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Hermeneutics and observation – a discussion

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Abstract:

NÅDEN D. Nursing Inquiry 2010: 17: 75–81

Hermeneutics and observation – a discussion

This study deals with hermeneutics and observation. The purpose is to discuss some central concerns of hermeneutics in relation to observation as a research method. Attention is centred on the hermeneutic process, preunderstanding, understanding, sensitivity, the fore-conception of completeness and language. Examples from an observation study are presented. The study ends with a discussion of the importance of proceeding without haste and of silence in observational hermeneutic research. The researcher must allow oneself to be influenced by these qualities if the observations are to be undertaken in a hermeneutic spirit. Physical time must be of lesser importance than inner time. The possibility then exists for the researcher to wander the hermeneutic spiral to the greatest depth possible.

Keywords: fore-conception of completeness; hermeneutics; language; preunderstanding

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1800.2009.00472.x

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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