Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Theory and Practice


PhD students in the fields of (clinical) psychology, special needs education, medicine and applied philosophy

Organizing Committee

· Prof. Dr. Ann Buysse (FPPW):
· Prof. Dr. Ignaas Devisch (FGE):
· Prof. Dr. Stijn Vandevelde (FPPW):
· Prof. Dr. Stijn Vanheule (FPPW): (corresponding supervisor)
· Dr. Hanna Van Parys (FPPW):

Scientific Committee

Includes the UGent organizing committee as well as these partners from other Flemish Universities:
KULeuven Academic staff promoting this proposal:
Prof. Dr. Peter Rober (UPC KU Leuven):
Prof. Dr. Paul Enzlin (Interfaculty Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies):
Vrije Universiteit Brussel Academic staff promoting this proposal:
Prof. Dr. Liesbeth De Donder (Educational Sciences):

Topic and Theme

Qualitative research is expanding in the field of social sciences. Several qualitative research methods are applied not only in sociological research but also in psychology, educational sciences, bio-ethics... One of the methods that is of particular interest for these disciplines is Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). IPA offers a methodological framework and analysis method and is theoretically grounded in phenomenology and hermeneutics. It is an idiographic method in that it is committed to understanding individuals' lived experience. IPA has been applied to study a range of different topics, e.g. patient’s illness experience, human reproduction, addiction, and therapist’s experiences. (For an overview of the contribution of IPA, see Smith, 2011). In Flanders, a growing number of researchers is using IPA. The IPA textbook (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009) serves as a good base for novice researchers. However, many of them struggle with the concrete implementation of qualitative research in general and IPA more specifically.
This specialist course is for researchers who have some knowledge of IPA but would like the opportunity to develop these skills practically and engage in discussion and ask questions about the methodology. The majority of the course is organized to give participants plenty of time to practice their IPA skills, share their experiences in small group work and to seek advice from the facilitators. References are provided including key textbooks, research articles of IPA studies and other methodological articles about IPA. This course is primarily intended for PhD-students who are using IPA or considering to use this method for one of their studies. We hope to offer a platform for both new and advanced researchers to discuss their IPA research and improve their skills in conducting qualitative research.

Dates and Venue

  • 5 + 6 April 2018 (Thu-Fri) from 9:00 till 18:00
  • Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of Ghent University, H. Dunantlaan 2, 9000 Gent. Room to be communicated.


  • Day 1: April 5, 2018

· 9:00 – 10:30: Key concepts and phenomenological roots of IPA
· 10:45 – 12:30: How to turn a research question into interview questions

· 13:30 – 16:00: Interviewing: principles and practice
· 16:15 - 18:00: Interviewing: exercises

  • Day 2: April 6, 2018

· 9:00 – 9:30: IPA data-analysis: principles and practice
· 9:45 – 13:00: IPA data-analysis: exercises

· 14:00 - 15:30: Writing an IPA paper
· 15:45 – 18:00: Validity and trustworthiness in IPA research


Prof. Dr. Jan De Mol is professor clinical child and adolescent psychology and family therapy at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Department of Clinical Psychology. He also teaches Research Methodology, the part of qualitative research methods, in the Research Master and the UCL Doctoral School. He has conducted IPA-research into the field of parent-child relationships and adolescent depression.
Dr. Hanna Van Parys is a clinical psychologist and currently works as a research assistant at the Department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology of Ghent University. She has conducted IPA research in the field of mental health and human reproduction. In 2010, she did a study visit at Birkbeck University of London where she worked together with Prof. dr. Jonathan Smith. She is co-lecturer for the course “Qualitative research methods in clinical psychology” at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences (Ghent University).

Registration and information

Registration is due before 28th February 2018. Send an e-mail to:

Registration fee

Free of charge for PhD students of the Doctoral Schools of Social and Behavioural Sciences


Maximum 20 participants

Evaluation criteria (doctoral training programme)

Presence and active participation during all sessions