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Phenomenology is a qualitative research method which aims to discover the true essence of a human experience using subjective accounts conveyed by the people who are living them. It aims to know the answer to the question “what is it like to live a particular experience?”. Narratives are obtained through participative data collection methods like interviews, focus group discussions and observations. Thematic analysis follows wherein the researcher reduces the data, identifies and analyzes themes, searches for meanings and interprets them. The results serve to deepen both researcher and participant understanding of the experience.    

The prevalence of chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart failure, COPD and Alzheimer’s, has a profound impact on family members who serve as primary caregivers of patients with these conditions. A nursing research problem related to this issue is framed as, “What is it like to be a primary caregiver of patients with chronic and often terminal conditions?”  Answering this question is important for nurses to assist them in coping with the crisis situation. Although questionnaires can be used, these are incapable of capturing the entirety of the experience. Hence, phenomenology is the best approach to use. Only by perceiving experiences from the perspective of caregivers can nurses fully comprehend what it is that they are going through.

An appropriate data collection method is the recorded in-depth and unstructured interview,. The researcher facilitates the interaction by asking general questions and allows the participant to freely describe her experiences. A full picture of the issue is gained when data saturation is achieved. This is when subsequent interviews no longer contribute new themes and the researcher can now proceed to interpretation.

Code: Sample20

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