Hermeneutic observational studies: describing a method

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There is a need to develop and use research observations in the clinical field, primarily to gain insight into and assess evidence of what comprises caring in a real-life situation and confirm what is actually taking place. In addition, assessments lead to a new and different understanding of what caring constitutes, thereby enabling the identification of what kind of care is being provided and is required. Such observations also enable the observer to perceive and verbalise caring. There are ongoing discussions, specifically in Nordic countries, on how to use caring science-based observations as a means of collecting and interpreting qualitative data through the application of a hermeneutic approach, which constitutes describing what has been seen and reporting on it by way of ethical obligation. This article contributes to the debate through the provision of additional content and by reflecting on the development and usability of hermeneutical research observations from a method and methodological perspective, thereby refining previous ideas and extending previous assumptions. The primary study objective was to report on the experience of utilising observations as a single data collection method for hermeneutic research with the aim of evaluating the interplay between intensive care unit (ICU) patients and their next of kin. A secondary objective was to highlight the impact of preknowledge and preunderstanding on the interpretation process. An intensive care context was assessed as the most appropriate, as the majority of patients are unable to engage in verbal narratives during ongoing treatment and care. The benefits of employing hermeneutic observation as well as interpretation and preunderstanding from a caring science perspective are considered.

Details

Authors
External organisations
  • University of Borås
  • University of Gothenburg
Research areas and keywords

Keywords

  • caring science, critical care, hermeneutics, method, research observation
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
Externally publishedYes