Using a reflective diary to develop bracketing skills during a phenomenological investigation

Nurse Res. 2004;11(4):20-9. doi: 10.7748/nr2004.


In this article, I have attempted to show how a reflective diary can be an effective tool for developing bracketing skills. A framework is necessary to guide reflective thought and encourage deep and critical thinking. My framework was influenced by the work of Schön (1987) and Johns (1984), and related to the concepts of reflecting 'on' and 'in' action, and identified specific learning that had taken place. Bracketing is an important part of the Husserlian approach to descriptive phenomenology. It is a continuous process that can be used in a number of ways. Within my study I used bracketing 'pre', 'in', and 'on' actions. In addition to using bracketing to facilitate the clear emergence of the phenomenon under investigation, it can also be used to help review the methodology of a study. Examples have been given within the article to highlight different situations where bracketing took place.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Autobiographies as Topic
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Data Collection / standards
  • Decision Making
  • Existentialism
  • Faculty, Nursing*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Interviews as Topic / standards
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Methodology Research* / education
  • Nursing Methodology Research* / methods
  • Nursing Methodology Research* / standards
  • Philosophy, Nursing
  • Prejudice
  • Professional Competence / standards*
  • Research Design*
  • Research Personnel* / education
  • Research Personnel* / psychology
  • Self Concept
  • Writing*