• The Open University
  • SDU

Introduction to Phenomenology and its Application in Qualitative Research

Find out about the philosophical fundamentals of phenomenology and how it can be integrated in qualitative research.

1,025 enrolled on this course

Build strong qualitative research methods and learn how to use phenomenology

Phenomenology is one of the most influential philosophy schools. It focuses on exploring in-depth aspects of lived experience in a variety of contexts.

On this four-week course, you’ll get to know the main themes of philosophical phenomenology and how it can be put to use in qualitative research.

Through real-life examples, you will find out how qualitative researchers have benefitted from using this philosophical tradition.

You’ll also discover how phenomenology and qualitative methods work together and how you can integrate phenomenology at different stages of a qualitative research project.

Using phenomenology in the study of human lived experience enables researchers to access insights that other approaches cannot achieve. Often, it can be the only possible way to study certain topics in social sciences.

Nevertheless, guidance for researchers in the humanities and social sciences is scarce. This course will help fill this gap by showing you how phenomenology can be put to use in academic fields focusing on, for example, education, sport, psychology, and health.

You’ll critically examine examples of how phenomenology has been applied and gain practical skills in how this can be done.

Discover phenomenological research with The Open University and the University of Southern Denmark

Throughout the course, you will engage in debates with other learners to help you evaluate the challenges of integrating phenomenology and qualitative research methodologies. You will also have the opportunity to start thinking about your own research project and interests.

This course has been designed by The Open University – an industry lead in distance education – and the SDU (University of Southern Denmark), to provide you with a supportive social learning experience.

What topics will you cover?

  • What is phenomenology?
  • Applying phenomenology to qualitative research
  • How phenomenology and qualitative methods can work together productively
  • Examples of how to use phenomenology in education, health and sport

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the main themes of philosophical phenomenology.
  • Assess the benefits of using this philosophical tradition in qualitative research.
  • Explore how to integrate phenomenology at different stages of a qualitative research project.
  • Evaluate the challenges of integrating phenomenology and qualitative research methodologies.
  • Engage with debates related to this interdisciplinary methodology.
  • Evaluate examples of research which integrate phenomenology and qualitative methodologies in education, health and sport.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for undergraduate or postgraduate students in the field of humanities and social sciences, such as education, sport, psychology, and health.

It will be particularly useful for those interested in qualitative research methods.

Who will you learn with?

I am a Professor at the Department of Sports Science and Biomechanics at the University of Southern Denmark as well as Head of the research unit Movement, Culture and Society.

I am a Senior Lecturer in Languages at the Open University. My main research interests are learner centred pedagogy and the use of phenomenology to explore the lived experience of multilinguals.

Who developed the course?

The Open University

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

University of Southern Denmark

SDU is the third-largest university in Denmark– founded in 1966 and since shaped and powered by a constant need to pinpoint challenging, attractive positions for our research, educational and organisational activities.


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  • Discuss your learning in comments
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  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

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  • Limited access to course content for 4 weeks

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