Re-viewing literature in hermeneutic research

Elizabeth Ann Smythe, Deborah Gail Spence


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.

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