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Personal Narrative in Phenomenology

The current featured ANS article provides an example of an approach to knowledge development that delves deeply into the narrative of the lived experience of a single person.  The article is titled “Being the Mother of an Adolescent Suffering From a Spinal Cord Injury: Possibilities of a Personal Narrative in Phenomenology.”  The author, Sanne Angel, PhD, RN, is from Aarhus University in Denmark.  Here is her message reflecting on this method and its potential for developing nursing knowledge: 

From a decade of studying life after spinal cord injury I draw attention to the craft of the single story. Its force in relation to develop a caring attitude is unsurpassed. Maybe this should be used more, both in relation to the professionals in charge for the patient and the

Sanne Angel

Sanne Angel

politician responsible for the needed resources. Thus in its own right, the individual analysis invites us to lend such an ear to the possibility of how others might experience this phenomenon, here  “Being the mother of an adolescent suffering from a spinal cord injury”. And that is the real thrust of the study here. 

Further as a methodological contribution, I am suggesting that the move from one person’s experience to others’ is itself supported by the implicit “eidos” of the single. From the analysis of the single story it is possible to extract what could be true for other people in similar situations. This move from one to another lived context requires an act that is not unlike Husserl’s own move from one case to his imagined variations.

However, performing an imaginary variation is what is done also when more than one single case, and may take a very talented researcher (which I do not claim to be). This calls for external validation judging whether this is done successfully, and I welcome you readers to engage therein.

Please visit the ANS site while this article is featured and available for free download!  We welcome your comments and ideas in response to this thought-provoking article!

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