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Interpretative phenomenological analysis for LIS research

Amy VanScoy (Department of Library & Information Studies, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA)
Solveig Beyza Evenstad (Department of Information and Communication Sciences, University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, Nice, France)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 9 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview and evaluation of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) for the library and information science (LIS) community, as this method has only recently been used for exploring experiences of various phenomena related to LIS.


IPA is discussed within the phenomenological tradition. Two examples of recent IPA studies are examined in parallel to show application of the IPA method. Issues and challenges of applying IPA to LIS research questions are discussed.


IPA is an alternative phenomenological method, adding to the repertoire of qualitative methods used for LIS research. It was an effective method for exploring experience among information professionals: it was equally suitable for studying reference and information service work for academic library professionals and burnout experience for information and communication technology workers.


Only a few LIS studies have used IPA and no discussion or evaluation of the method has been published for this field. This paper provides a discussion of the method for LIS researchers interested in this emerging phenomenological method.



VanScoy, A. and Evenstad, S.B. (2015), "Interpretative phenomenological analysis for LIS research", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 71 No. 2, pp. 338-357.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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