DOI: 10.1177/10497323231210495 ISSN: 1049-7323

Alongside: Exploring the Meaningfulness of Significant Moments in Others’ Lives Through Observation and Interview

Malene Beck, Bente Martinsen, Malene Missel, Charlotte Simony, Eileen Engelke, Michael van Manen
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

How do we explore the meaningfulness of others’ experiences? What means do we have to access their experiencing of the world? How do we express our understandings of others’ experiences of body and place without reducing them to objectification? In this methodological paper, we reflect on how we can gain valuable insights into the lived experiences of others through research activities that are conducted ‘alongside’ participants. Phenomenological concepts of intentionality and embodiment are considered as we draw on an empirical example of exploring the experiences of hospitalized patients with neurological diseases through observations and interviews. The aim is to unfold alongside as an epistemological stance to explore the meaning of another’s lifeworld. We strive to show that personal presence and engagement within this approach contains relational, existential, and aesthetic dimensions worth considering.

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