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Interpreting the anomalous: finding meaning in out-of-body and near-death experiences

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Qualitative Research in Psychology
Issue number1
Volume7
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)57-72
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Much contemporary research on anomalous experiences has been focused on issues of confirming the authenticity of the phenomena, or to determine the underlying processes by which these phenomena may manifest themselves. This research has largely been nomothetic in nature relying mainly on laboratory experiments and/or questionnaire surveys. Traditionally, however, there has existed a third strand of exploration in this field of study–phenomenological research—which in recent times has been somewhat overlooked in this field of work. In an attempt to redress this shortcoming, the authors propose the use of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to research anomalous experience. IPA possesses strong theoretical and philosophical underpinnings and a focus on describing and interpreting the process, intricacy and novelty of personal experience. The authors argue that IPA appears ideally suited as a method of qualitative investigation to address important fundamental research questions posed by the study of anomalous experiences.