Creative phenomenology within health and social care research: bridging the gap between experience and expression


Phenomenology focuses on how we experience and interact with phenomena in the world. Phenomenologically inspired methods have long been applied to the study of health and care as a human science. However, generating the kinds of rich, experience-near data that supports the phenomenological project requires careful and considerate methods which attend to the needs of the research population. Presenting and discussing examples of our empirical work, we demonstrate compatibility and complementarity between a phenomenological methodology and creative methods of data generation. Participant creations of written descriptions, art, photovoice and relational mapping are explored. Covering topics such as men’s experiences of migraine, coping with body dysmorphic disorder, living with ‘unseen’ health conditions and parenting young people with intellectual disabilities, we demonstrate how the quality of the data collected is improved through the integration of creative methods of data collection in qualitative psychological research. Through giving the platform and freedom for participants to express themselves beyond spoken words, we argue that these methods shift the power balance of the typical researcher-participant dynamic. Data created through creative methods has the potential to reach, and resonate with, wider audiences; moving ‘beyond’ traditional approaches to generating data becomes a means of enacting material change.

Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > Aston Institute of Health & Neurodevelopment (AIHN)
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Routledge International Handbook of Innovative Qualitative Psychological Research on November 10th 2023, available online:
ISBN: 9780367654733, 9781003132721
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2024 08:03
Date Deposited: 18 May 2023 16:26
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Related URLs: https://www.rou ... k/9780367654733 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Chapter (peer-reviewed)
Published Date: 2024-01-01
Published Online Date: 2023-11-10
Accepted Date: 2023-04-12
Authors: Day, William (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-8580-2373)
Craythorne, Shioma-Lei (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-9075-947X)
Moutela, Tiago
Slade, Katharine
Heath, Gemma (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-1569-5576)



Version: Accepted Version

Access Restriction: Restricted to Repository staff only until 10 May 2025.

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