Show Less
Restricted access

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.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 4. Being Methodical and Following Leads

Caveats on What Science Has Delivered to Us as Method


← 54 | 55 →



The hermeneutics developed here is not, therefore, a methodology of the human sciences…I did not intend to produce an art or a technique of understanding, in the manner of earlier hermeneutics. I did not wish to elaborate a system of rules to describe, let alone direct the methodological procedure of the human sciences…My real concern was and is philosophic; not what we do or what we ought to do, but what happens to us over and above our wanting and doing. Hence the methods of the human science are not at issue here. (Gadamer, 1960/1996, p. xxiii & p. xviii)

There is no such thing as a method of asking questions, of learning to see what is questionable. (Gadamer, 1960/1989, p. 365)

We place these quotes at the front of this chapter to signal the difficulty and risk that confronts anyone attempting to lay out the “how” of hermeneutics, a task made more difficult because of Gadamer’s ambivalence toward anything that would qualify as a procedure for doing hermeneutics. It is understandable, then, that a common reading of Gadamerian hermeneutics is that there is no method associated with doing interpretive research, nor should there be and, as authors of this book, we both agree and disagree with this statement. It all comes down to what is meant by the term method. What are the assumptions made by the method...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.