Looking Inward: Philosophical and Methodological Perspectives on Phenomenological Self-Reflection

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Engaging in early and ongoing self-reflection during interpretive phenomenological research is critical for ensuring trustworthiness or rigor. However, the lack of guidelines and clarity about the role of self-reflection in this methodology creates both theoretical and procedural confusion. The purpose of this article is to describe key philosophical underpinnings, characteristics, and hallmarks of the process of self-reflection in interpretive phenomenological investigation and to provide a list of guidelines that facilitate this process. Excerpts from an interpretive phenomenological study are used to illustrate characteristics of quality self-reflection. The guidelines are intended to be particularly beneficial for novice researchers who may find self-reflective writing to be daunting and unclear. Facilitating use of self-reflection may strengthen both the interpretive phenomenological body of work as well as that of all qualitative research.

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