The method of eidetic analysis for psychology

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Amedeo Giorgi has asserted that the two key procedures that make psychological research genuinely phenomenological are: 1) the epoches; and 2) the intuition of essence. Giorgi's insistence on this point is reviewed and the often-misunderstood method of grasping essences is explored. Attention is given to Husserl's ideas about free imaginative variation and the procedures of eidetic analysis. Examination is made of how Husserl used his method to determine the essence of "psychological phenomena", and of the demands the essential characteristics of psychological subject matter place on the discipline. Implications for the sciences, especially for psychology's use of the phenomenological method, are spelled out. Basic practices in phenomenological psychological research are addressed, including the roles played by the investigator's imagination, by descriptions of others' real lives, and by literary and artistic works in eidetic research. Post-modern critiques of essentialism and of skepticism concerning "essences" are challenged in light of a clarification of the procedure. Finally, it is argued with Giorgi that eidetic analysis is crucial for a genuine science of psychology.

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In T.F. Cloonan & C. Thiboutot (Eds.), The redirection ofpsychologt: Es,says in honor rf Amedeo P. Giorgi, pp.26l-278.