Phenomenology is a branch of philosophy that has spawned methodological innovations in the psychological and social sciences. Phenomenology focuses on the study of human consciousness as experienced from a subjective, first-person viewpoint. This makes it distinctly different from philosophies that posit a strict distinction between subject and object—the person who knows and that which is known—and from research methods that aim at objectifying experience, such as experimental investigations of cognition and perception or survey questionnaires with standardized questions. Consequently, phenomenology has informed qualitative research methods that attempt to describe reality as it is experienced by research participants.

As an example of the kind of problems phenomenology investigates, consider what happens when you bite into an apple. How would you describe this experience to a person who ...

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