Using sense-making in phenomenological research
This project is located in the area of Studies of Religions. I was interested to discover how contemporary Roman Catholics construe their religiousness. My intention was to examine a wide range of Catholic experiencing, specifically in situations where people felt dissonance between their experience and their understanding of church teachings and practices. It was hoped that patterns would emerge in individuals’ communicative moves that would demonstrate the ways in which communication was being blocked/facilitated. Communication was understood not only as that which pertains to individuals and externals but also those processes internal to the person by which they realign values, needs and the symbolic worlds available to them. The project is my PhD thesis (and I’ve passed!) A Sense-Making timeline interview was used (A copy of the outline appears at the end of this precis). Sense-Making theory was discussed and elaborated upon in order to include specific attention to, and interpretation of, the place of embodiment in people’s meaning-making as well as its effects on interpretation and decision making in the research process. The specific questions addressed were: 1) How do Catholics move to reduce the tension that arises when their life process is blocked or stopped by their understanding of church teaching and/or practice? 2) What elements of experience play a role in forming the spirituality of people who were raised Catholics? 3) Is there a relationship between bodily and material experience and a person’s formation of their spirituality? 4) Is there a relationship between bodily and material experience and people’s ethical conduct in the context of religiousness? 5) What form does this relationship take?
Coco, A 1999, 'Using sense-making in phenomenological research’, paper presented to Communication and Contradictions: Embracing Differences Through Discourse : International Communications Association Conference, San Francisco, CA, 27-31 May.