I'm not quite sure why, but I seem to be thinking about using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) for my research for assignment 1. Not knowing why, I suspect, is not an appropriate reason I can provide to the module tutor to justify its choice.
I also have thoughts of Bourdieu whizzing around my brain, on a separate note. I'm going to investigate the ideas of cultural capital and habitus and see if they coincide with my thoughts on assignment 1.
Anyway, back to IPA. The following paper I found to be quite useful in providing a quick overview of the approach. Nothing within it suggests that it's not an appropriate approach. I need to get hold of Smith's book on the subject and do some more reading. This paper discusses IPA in general and then its relevance to healthcare. It seems mostly used within psychology, but I cannot see why it can't be used within an educational setting.
Pringle, J., Drummond, J., McLafferty, E., & Hendry, C. (2011). Interpretative phenomenological analysis: A discussion and critique. Nurse Researcher, 18(3), 20-24.
This paper looks at the role of IPA within healthcare. Its roots are in psychology, so are there issues in using it more generally?
Within IPA the role of the analyst is greater than within Husserl's phenomenology. The key difference between IPA and phenomenology is acknowledging the active role of the researcher in the analysis, making it, therefore, potentially less descriptive.
IPA is used for researching the individual and involves a two-stage interpretation. The researcher interprets the participant's attempts at sense-making - this is known as a 'double hermeneutic'.
There has been some confusion over phenomenological approaches to description and interpretation. IPA does not follow the critical interpretative framework of Koch. Smith et al. highlight the role of IPA as an in-depth analysis of individuals. This is one of the potential negatives of IPA - it is subjective and non-generalizable. However, we need to consider different definitions of validity. Useful insights of more a more general nature can evolve from IPA work. The depth of dialogue can contextualise the research to wider theory. There is a likelihood of "theoretical transferability" rather than empirical generalizability.
IPA uses smaller samples with the privilege on the individual, allowing a deeper analysis. There's extensive use of direct quotes to anchor the findings.
IPA is bound within its theoretical roots, which provides both depth and purpose. The reader can assess transferability based on the richness and transparency of the data. However, we need to clarify and acknowledge the limitations that homogeneity of sample may cause, as this can limit transferability.
A wide range of data collection can be used with IPA but it is important to acknowledge and discuss any strengths and weaknesses of the chosen method. I would be most interested in using semi-structured interviews.
IPA is an adaptable account. Whilst there are guidelines, these are open to adaptation. It is not prescriptive. IPA stresses interpretation rather than description, capturing examples of both convergence and divergence rather than just on commonalities.
IPA is an evolving method, with changes occurring over time. It is suggested that now one should bracket previous interviews, to do justice to the individuality of each participant. I find this a little difficult, If we do not bracket our own frames of reference for IPA why should we need to bracket previous interviews? Need to look at the theory of this a bit more.
Researcher experience is part of the interpretative analysis. Maybe consider in relation to Kimball and Garrison's work on hermeneutics.
There is no set way of analysis but manual coding enables an intimacy with the data which may not be achieved if using software.
The authors go on to discuss validity, which has been covered by Smith et al. The interpretation is subjective but external audits allow credibility. There is no single truth but the approach should provide a legitimate account. Triangulation of methods can be used to provide validity.
The authors discuss the use of IPA within healthcare. It is grounded in psychology. Therefore I need to consider its applicability to other disciplines.