Second Theory Statement: Hermeneutics

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Second Theory Statement: Hermeneutics

“Hermeneutics is a disciplined approach to interpretation that can be traced back to the ancient Greeks studying literature and to biblical exegesis in the Judeo-Christian tradition.” (Crotty, 1998, p. 88-89). According to the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, “hermeneutics is the method of interpretation first of texts, and secondly of the whole social, historical, and psychological world.” ("Hermeneutics," n.d.). This paper will discuss the central idea of hermeneutics, hermeneutics as a perspective, and hermeneutics as an influence upon research activities as it might relate to instructional technology (IT).

The Theoretical Perspective of Hermeneutics

Hermeneutics is invoked in many fields of inquiry relating to the act of reading. (Crotty, 1998, p.105). Hermeneutics as a practice is historically steeped in a religious foundation: the science of biblical interpretation. Further, Crotty (1998) explains, “hermeneutics is a form of inquiry into how texts can and should be applied… not just abstract theorising.” (p. 91). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (n.d.) states:

It is associated in particular with a tradition of German thought running from Friedrich

Schleiermacher and Wilhelm Dilthey in the 19th century to Martin Heidegger and

Hans‐Georg Gadamer in the 20th. In this tradition, the question of interpretation is posed

in terms of the hermeneutic circle, and involves basic problems such as the possibility of

establishing a determinate meaning in a text, the role of the author's intention, the

historical relativity of meanings, and the status of the reader's contribution to a text's


By definition, the hermeneutic p...

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...s of Social Research: Meaning and perspective in the research process. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hermeneutics. (n.d.). In The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms online.

Hermeneutics. (n.d.). In The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy online. Retrieved from

Westerman, M. A. (2006). Quantitative research as an interpretive enterprise: The mostly

unacknowledged role of interpretation in research efforts and suggestions for explicitly interpretive quantitative investigations. New Ideas in Psychology, 24(3), 189-211. doi:10.1016/j.newideapsych.2006.09.004.

Westerman, M. A. (2004). Theory and Research on Practices, Theory and Research as Practices: Hermeneutics and Psychological Inquiry. Journal Of Theoretical And Philosophical Psychology, 24(2), 123-156. doi: 10.1037/h0091238
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