ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (11): 1826-1841.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2019.01826

• Research Method • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Interpretative phenomenological analysis in China: A systematic review and guideline

HOU Liqi1, TANG Xinfeng2(), HE Li3, JIA Xiaoming4   

  1. 1 Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
    2 Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
    3 Teachers’ College, Beijing Union University, Beijing 100011, China;
    4 School of Humanities and Social Science, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2018-12-04 Online:2019-10-31 Published:2019-09-23


As a qualitative method, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) has been increasingly employed in psychology and other social sciences disciplines. In China, the quality of research using IPA was doubtful, and thus a systematic review of the current studies was warranted. Through a comprehensive search in Chinese and English database and screening, 49 articles were included. According to Smith’s criterion, 26 studies explicitly referred to IPA theoretical principles; 33 studies had clear and transparent data collection and analysis process. Most of the studies (n = 40) were coherent and plausible, however, only a small proportion of the studies (n = 13) provided strong evidence to support the themes. In the forty-nine included studies, only 4 articles were rated as “good”, 11 articles were “acceptable”, and the remaining 34 articles were “unacceptable”. Based on previous research and recommendations, this study attempted to present a guideline to conduct and write a good IPA study.

Key words: interpretative phenomenological analysis, systematic review, qualitative research

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