Re-viewing literature in hermeneutic research

  • Elizabeth Ann Smythe Auckland University of Technology
  • Deborah Gail Spence Auckland University of Technology


A literature review of some form is an expectation within research projects. This paper considers the particular form of re-viewing the literature in hermeneutic research. It begins by explicating hermeneutic philosophical assumptions. The argument is presented that a key purpose of exploring literature is to provoke thinking. The authors offer personal accounts of their experiences of working with literature. The guiding frameworks of three doctoral students’ hermeneutic approaches to literature are profiled. In conclusion distinguishing hallmarks of ways of working hermeneutically with literature are articulated. Literature, including anything that provokes thinking on the topic, forms a key dialoguing partner from which scholarly thinking emerges.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth Ann Smythe, Auckland University of Technology
Liz is an Associate Professor with a background in nursing and midwifery. My current work is with postgraduate students across the health faculty. My research expertise is Heideggerian hermeneutics.
Deborah Gail Spence, Auckland University of Technology
Deb is a Joint Head of Nursing, mainly involved in postgraduate teaching. She has a passion for nursing scholarship, to which she brings hermeneutic expertise.