On phenomenography

This second forum is about the second set of readings, which included the book The Experience of learning, Variatio est mater Studiorum, and several pages on Phenomenography.
As I wrote elsewhere, I understand that Phenomenography is “the empirical study of the differing ways in which people experience, perceive, apprehend, understand, conceptualize various phenomena in all aspects of the world around us.” (http://www.ped.gu.se/biorn/phgraph/civil/main/1res.appr.html )

In the material published on the Göteborgs universitet site ( http://www.ped.gu.se ) I found the following definitions of phenomenography:

“ a descipted recording of immediate subjective experience as reported”
“a description of appearances”
“phenomenography thus evolves as a research specialization aimed at describing conceptions of the world around us”
“phenomenographic analysis”
All this considered, I find it confusing to think of phenomenography as a “perspective” to  be considered alongside constructivism. To me it sounds more like a methodology for qualitative research and…phenomenographic analysis.
Having said that, let me start with sharing some thoughts on what I have been doing for the past two weeks.
I have delved into the readings, in spite of my personal enormous difficulty in doing that. In general, reading is not my preferred way of learning, especially when the material is not my own choice.
To sum up my learning, I can say that most of the content of “the Experience of Learning” suggests a learner-centered model of education. It defines the discrepancy between traditional teachers’ view of learning, and that of their students. It also explores concepts such as deep and surface learning. This particular part of the book content is relevant to my own studies. As a learner, I embraced this program wholeheartedly, as I was under the impression that I could be “the master of my own learning.” Learn needs to be meaningful -so I read in the readings on constructivism. A deep learning approach suits me in that it allows me for opportunities for self-reflection. A surface approach, instead, is generally not very satisfying. However, deep learning makes sense to me only when the amount of information is manageable, otherwise it can turn into a very overwhelming experience, especially when I don’t get to choose the material.

For whatever it’s worth, here is a deficnition of Phen.: (from wiki)

Phenomenography is a qualitative research methodology, within the interpretivist paradigm, that investigates the qualitatively different ways in which people experience something or think about something (Ference Marton, 1986). Phenomenography, an approach to educational research that appeared in publications in the early 1980s (Marton, 1981; 1986), initially emerged from an empirical rather than theoretical or philosophical basis (Åkerlind, 2005).

..a qualitative research methodology.

That Phen. is a research methodology is written all over the place in the pages og the University of Gothemborg, as I pointed out in my other post.

but like you said, we could discuss this till the ned of times and…so what?

How relevant is this part of the discussion ( that I actually initiated) to my own learning? This is by far a more importantt question for me than the (dis)agreement on academic semantics. I do not live my life according to academic definitions, and if I have to make sense of an external reality based on my experience and through my  interaction with others, academic semantics would not serce as a useful learning approach.

One Response

  1. explanation by tutor:
    Phenomenography has nondualistic ontology. This ontological position tells that “our world is a real world that is experienced by all our senses but interpreted and understood in different ways by different human beings, depending on our earlier experiences” (Newman, 1997, p. 64). Phenomenography do not distinguish between one subjective world and one objective external world. (compare with Constructivism). This experienced world is seen as only one world. (in this way it is somewhat strange that one talk about external world in Phenomenography)

    “(one world )is objective and subjective at the same time. An experience is a relationship between object and subject, encompassing both; the experience is as much an aspect of the object as it is of the subject…. The expression “how the subject experiences the object” is synonymous with the expression “how the object appears to the subject” (Marton & Neuman, 1996, p. 317)

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