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Conducting Hermeneutic Research

From Philosophy to Practice


Nancy J. Moules, Graham McCaffrey, James C. Field and Catherine M. Laing

Conducting Hermeneutic Research: From Philosophy to Practice is the only textbook that teaches the reader ways to conduct research from a philosophical hermeneutic perspective. It is an invaluable resource for graduate students about to embark in hermeneutic research and for academics or other researchers who are novice to this research method or who wish to extend their knowledge. In 2009, the lead author of this proposed text was one of three co-founders of the Canadian Hermeneutic Institute. The institute was created as a means of bringing together scholars of hermeneutics and hermeneutic research across disciplines in creative dialogue and conversations of philosophy, research, and practice. An outcome of this was the launch of the Journal of Applied Hermeneutics, with Nancy J. Moules serving as Editor. The work of the institute and the journal make clear that people (both students and professors) seek practical guidance on how to conduct hermeneutic research. This book is a must read for this audience.
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Chapter 10. “So What?” – Implications of Hermeneutic Research

The Utility of Hermeneutic Research Findings


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Understanding does not merely interpret the world but changes it.(Davey, 2006, p. xiv)

In 2011, Dr. Catherine Laing, a doctoral candidate at the time, presented to board members of a local children’s cancer care foundation on her proposed study of children’s cancer camps. She described her intent to study the particular cancer camp run by the foundation and her goal to attempt to reach some understanding of the meaning of the camp for children and families. The board members wholeheartedly supported this research but they asked what the findings would bring them to support their requests for individual and corporate donor contributions to the running of the camp. “Will you get evidence to prove that camp makes a difference?” “What kind of statistics will you get from your study that will convince people to donate?” Laing responded that she would not have statistics or the kind of data that they thought they needed to be convincing. A cancer researcher sitting at the table, who is currently the Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute of Health Research, Dr. Stephen Robbins, astutely asked the questions: “Do you really want those numbers, that kind of measurement? Because what if you measured and you found out that camp made NO difference in the trajectory of the cancer, or that it even increased the possibility of infection, and then ← 183 | 184 → compromised treatment? What if all you...

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