Table 1

Key differences between Husserl’s and Heidegger’s approaches to phenomenology

Descriptive phenomenology (Husserl) also labelled transcendental phenomenologyInterpretive phenomenology (Heidegger) also labelled hermeneutic phenomenology
Epistemological in orientation, questioning knowledge: How do we know what we know?
Historical context is irrelevant.
The meaning rich data is the subject of analysis.
Essences of consciousness or conscious experience can be shared.
Meaning is not influences by researcher belief systems and experiences.
Data stands alone but meanings can be reconstructed.
Bracketing supports the validity of interpretation, enabling a level of objectivity.
Ontological in orientation, questioning experiences and understanding: What does it mean to be the person in this context, with these needs?
Historical context is implicit to understanding the concept being explored.
The interaction between the situation and the individual that we seek to identify and interpret is implicit.
One’s culture, practices and language can be shared.
Meaning is influenced by researcher belief systems.
Interpretation explains what is already known.
Developing an understanding of the experience is known as the hermeneutic circle.