Integrating qualitative research methodologies and phenomenology—using dancers’ and athletes’ experiences for phenomenological analysis

Susanne Ravn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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This paper sets out from the hypothesis that the embodied competences and expertise which characterise dance and sports activities have the potential to constructively challenge and inform phenomenological thinking. While pathological cases present experiences connected to tangible bodily deviations, the specialised movement practices of dancers and athletes present experiences which put our everyday experiences of being a moving body into perspective in a slightly different sense. These specialised experiences present factual variations of how moving, sensing and interacting can be like for us as body-subjects. To use of these sources inevitably demands that qualitative research methodologies – especially short-term ethnographical fieldwork – form part of the research strategy and qualify the way the researcher involves a second-person perspective when interviewing dancers and athletes about their experiences. In the subsequent phases analysing the data generated, I argue that researchers first strive to achieve internal consistency of empirical themes identified in the case of movement practices in question thus keeping to a contextualised and lived perspective, also denoted as an emic perspective. In subsequent phases phenomenological insights are then actively engaged in the exploration and discussion of the possible transcendental structures making the described subjective experiences possible. The specialised and context-defined experiences of ‘what a moving body can be like’ are accordingly involved as factual variations to constructively add to and potentially challenge phenomenological descriptions. Lastly, I exemplify how actual research strategies have been enacted in a variety of projects involving professional dancers’, golfers’ and sports dancers’ practices and experiences, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)107-127
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Emic
  • Factual variation
  • Interviewing
  • Observations
  • Second-person perspective
  • Validity


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