Using Phenomenology to Study How Junior and Senior High School Students in Japan Perceive Their Volunteer Efforts

Kayoko Ueda, Hajime Sakugawa

Abstract


The purpose of this paper is to describe the methods used in a phenomenological study aimed at understanding students’ perceptions of volunteer experiences from the viewpoint of their existential meanings. In Japan, as volunteer activities have just been recently introduced to youth education, it is necessary to verify the effect of the activity on the students. The authors present phenomenological reduction, which is a fundamental concept in phenomenology, as a health care research method to elucidate the essence of people’s lived experiences. The 22 statements presented from volunteer students’ group discussion after their practices were redescribed by phenomenological reduction, a method of valid interpretation based on their embodiment and desire. The phenomenological approach allows us to understand the essence of students’ perceptions in terms of their purpose in life, which suggests that educators could inspire the students to realize existential growth by participating in volunteer activities through practical communications with others.

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