Course Introduction to the micro-phenomenological interview


Course leader: Katrin Heimann

Language: English

Graduate school: Faculty of Arts

Course fee: 0.00 DKK

Status: Course is open for application

Semester: Fall 2022

Application deadline: 01/11/2022

Start date: 05/12/2022

Administrator: Henriette Jaquet


All students are put on a waiting list until we reach application deadline.

What is going on when an idea comes to us? When suddenly a childhood memory rushes back? When we enter a forest, listen to a piece of music, remember the taste of our favourite dish, spell a name or read a psalm? 
These phenomena constitute the very texture of our existence, yet are difficult to assess and describe in a scientific way. 
Micro-phenomenology, developed under the supervision of Francisco Varela, is an interview and analysis method designed to become aware, that is attend to, articulate and systematically map out these and other types of subjective experience. As a research tool, it allows to obtain and compare detailed process descriptions of short (ideally seconds to minutes long) moments of such lived experience. For this purpose, the method relies on a precisely described style of interviewing and a rigorous preprocessing evaluating the reliability of report. Furthermore, an elaborate analysis tool allows to schematically map out the individual reports as structures, compare them with each other and finally derive generic structures across interviews. This makes it possible to use the method not only as a stand alone tool, but also in combination with physiological, behavioral or other qualitative tools. 


The course is aimed at introducing and training the micro-phenomenological interview and preprocessing as an element of research practise. You will be taught how to use this method to collect fine-grained descriptions of the lived experience associated with a given sensorial, emotional or cognitive process, or with a specific expertise, so you can gather a corpus of accurate data that are relevant for your research project. 

Contents include:

  • Getting to know the principles of the Interview method (especially: evocation, structure-oriented questioning)
  • Developing an experimental design suitable for data acquisition using Micro-Phenomenological Interviews
  • Introductory Interviewer training including principles of Establishing a relationship to an interviewee, Guiding the evocation process so the interviewee can mobilize their concrete memory, Guiding the description of timeline and synchronic characteristics of experience dimensions.
  • Recognising different dimensions of experiences to separate descriptive elements of the target moments from explanations and judgements about it
  • Transcribing and preprocessing gained data to allow for reliability evaluation
  • An outview into further analysis steps (trained in a consecutive course)


Petitmengin, C. Describing one’s subjective experience in the second person: An interview method for the science of consciousness. Phenom Cogn Sci 5, 229–269 (2006).

Furthermore please watch: 

• An example interview Katrin, Gukka and Claire, 49 min:

Target group:

This course is relevant for PhDs in all stages of their research.

Importantly: Due to its focus on concrete research practise this course has an overlap, but is in large parts complementary with, the official micro-phenomenological interview training of Claire Petitmengin. It is therefore useful for total new beginners aiming to get a hands-on impression of the method but also prior attendants of Claire Petitmengin that need further training and guidance about how to use the method in their specific research topics and plans. Individuals interested in obtaining the official certification in Micro-Phenomenology should contact Katrin Heimann for further information.


The training consists of a five-day workshop on the method by Katrin Heimann from the 5th to the 9th of December, 5 hours per day in class (10am-3pm), plus 25 hours of self-guided preparation/reflection/assignments (ca. 5 hours before the course week, 10 hours during the course week and 10 hours after the course week for the assignment).

  • On day one the interview principles will be introduced and trained
  • On day two participants learn to develop an experimental design acquiring data for their own research project
  • On day three participant will record an interview, get introduced to the principle of transcriptions, pre-processing and self-evaluation and train the skill on the acquired data
  • On day four participants will be introduced to the further steps of analysis for the purpose of refining their self-evaluation and further train in the interviews. The assignment will be outlined.
  • Day five wraps up the course.
  • After the course, participants are asked to comment on their transcribed interview according to the evaluation principles learned and hand in this document that will be revised by Katrin Heimann. 



Course dates:

  • 05 December 2022 10:00 - 15:00
  • 06 December 2022 10:00 - 15:00
  • 07 December 2022 10:00 - 15:00
  • 08 December 2022 10:00 - 15:00
  • 09 December 2022 10:00 - 15:00