Critical Transformative Dialogues: A Research Method Beyond the Fusions of Horizons


  • Franziska Trede Charles Sturt University
  • Joy Higgs Charles Sturt University
  • Rodd Rothwell The University of Sydney



dialogues, transformation, critical hermeneutics, Habermas, hermeneutic interpretation, Gadamer


The way we interpret texts in hermeneutic research has evolved from guidelines for interpreting biblical texts to engaging in question and answer conversations with the aim of finding mutual understanding, to challenging reached mutual understandings and finding meaning beyond the dialogue partners' understanding. We present a progression and blending of different hermeneutics from the fusion of horizons approach of GADAMER's philosophical hermeneutics, through the GADAMER-HABERMAS debate to explore the interface between interpretive and critical approaches to text interpretations, to arrive at a research strategy that was created out of this debate. This strategy, critical transformative dialogues, emphasises a) a deep understanding of the phenomenon being researched as well as b) a sceptical stance to this newly found deep understanding and c) the value of dialogue in transcending a fusion of understandings to achieve transformative action. This strategy is explored in a project in the health sector in which the phenomenon being investigated, as well as the research approach, created emancipatory dialogues in practice. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs090169


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Author Biographies

Franziska Trede, Charles Sturt University

Franziska TREDE is senior lecturer in The Education for Practice Institute at the Charles Sturt University. Her research interests are in emancipatory practice, action learning and communication practices in health care settings.

Joy Higgs, Charles Sturt University

Joy HIGGS is Strategic Research Professor in Professional Practice and Director of The Education for Practice Institute at Charles Sturt University. Her research interests include areas of professional practice and education, clinical reasoning, and qualitative research methodologies.

Rodd Rothwell, The University of Sydney

Rodd ROTHWELL is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Health Sciences at The University of Sydney. His research interests include philosophy and professional practice.




How to Cite

Trede, F., Higgs, J., & Rothwell, R. (2008). Critical Transformative Dialogues: A Research Method Beyond the Fusions of Horizons. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 10(1).