oa Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology - Phenomenology as a potential methodology for subjective knowing in science education research

Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1445-7377



This paper charts the journey that led to the author's discovery of phenomenology as a potential research methodology in the field of science education, and describes the impact on his own thinking and approach of his encounters with the work of Husserl and Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Van Manen. Drawing on this theoretical framework, the author argues that, as a methodology for investigating scientific thinking in relation to life experience, learning and curriculum design, phenomenology not only provides a means of accessing subjective knowing and pure perception, but is sufficiently rigorous and systematic to represent the lifeworld experiences of research participants with a high degree of accuracy. In the process, he highlights the uniqueness and value of phenomenology in relation to quantitative and other qualitative research methods. The aim of this paper is to inspire insight into the value in science education research of using a methodology that fosters a deeper understanding of both teachers' and learners' lived experience of the scientific world. The challenge to science specialists, whether educators or researchers, would be to shift their default mode of understanding from the object pole to the ego pole, from the physical object to the human subject, from the observable and measurable to the lived as the true source of human knowledge.

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