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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 8. Interpretation as Writing

Example One: “It’s Not Just Camp”: Understanding the Meaning of Children’s Cancer Camps for Children and Families (Laing, 2013)


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Interpretive writing is at the heart of hermeneutic research and it is a learned and practiced art that is often difficult to discern and develop for beginning researchers. Sometimes the most helpful way to understand how to conduct hermeneutic research or explain interpretive writing is to look at work that has already been done. In fact, our experiences with those new to the hermeneutic tradition have shown that hermeneutics often “explains itself” when one is able to read a published manuscript or dissertation of a hermeneutic study.

In this chapter, we offer two examples of recently completed and published hermeneutic research. These two examples are not the only way in which one can write hermeneutically, however they offer ideas of how the address, being methodical and following leads, conducting interviews, and interpretive analysis might look as an end product, as something available for public consumption. ← 139 | 140 →

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