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Interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) is a contemporary qualitative methodology, first developed by psychologist Jonathan Smith (1996). Whilst its roots are in psychology, it is increasingly being drawn upon by scholars in the human, social and health sciences (Charlick, Pincombe, McKellar, & Fielder, 2016). Despite this, IPA has received limited attention across educationalist literature. Drawing upon my experiences of using IPA to explore the barriers to the use of humour in the teaching of Childhood Studies (Noon, 2017), this paper will discuss its theoretical orientation, sampling and methods of data collection and analysis, before examining the strengths and weaknesses to IPA’s employment in educational research.
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