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Through the increased use of qualitative research methods, the term phenomenology has become a quite familiar notion for researchers in adapted physical activity (APA). In contrast to this increasing interest in phenomenology as methodology, relatively little work has focused on phenomenology as philosophy or as an approach to professional practice. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to examine the relevance of phenomenology as philosophy and as pedagogy to the field of APA. First, phenomenology as philosophy is introduced through three key notions, namely the first-person perspective, embodiment, and life-world. The relevance of these terms to APA is then outlined. Second, the concept of phenomenological pedagogy is introduced, and its application and potential for APA are discussed. In conclusion, it is argued that phenomenology can help theorize ways of understanding human difference in movement contexts and form a basis of action-oriented research aiming at developing professional practice.
Øyvind F. Standal is with the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, Norway.