Stepping Into the Participants’ Shoes: The Trans-Positional Cognition Approach

Obafemi Olekanma, Viktor Dorfler, Farhad Shafti

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To conduct a phenomenological study, researchers often follow the principles from either the descriptive or interpretive phenomenological schools of thought. This constrains researchers within the domain and limits the potentials of their data set. This paper introduces the Trans-Positional Cognition Approach (TPCA) as a novel synthesised phenomenological research method for conducting qualitative research to address this challenge. The TPCA synthesises the principles of the descriptive and interpretive phenomenological schools and helps to bridge the divide occasioned by polemical arguments between them. At the heart of TPCA is the process of trans-positional cognition or, in simple words, ‘stepping into the participants’ shoes’. TPCA, within the phenomenological tradition, proposes a structured methodological approach as a way to reduce the complexity of the extant methods, which novice researchers associate with phenomenology. The purpose of TPCA is not to pit one phenomenological research approach against another but to elucidate an inclusive approach to phenomenological research that can serve as a methodological alternative. A set of dimensions is used to compare TPCA with extant descriptive and interpretive phenomenological approaches in order to demonstrate its distinctiveness. Furthermore, an implementation study illustrates the use of the TPCA. Hence, the TPCA, by bridging the divide between the phenomenological schools of thought, could potentially help sustain the growing interest of researchers in phenomenological research.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberVol 21
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalThe International Journal of Qualitative Methods
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors will like to thank Dr. Benjamin Fisher, Associate Dean, Research and Innovation, Teesside International University Business School, for initial review and comments of this article. Also, thanks to Dr. Efe Imiren, Lecturer, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise at Suffolk Business School, UK and Mr Jonathan Munby, Principal Lecturer at Teesside University International Business School for the initial proofread and editing of this article. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


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