Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Mary-Ellen Jacobs


The purpose of this study is to allow for a phenomenological, hermeneutic treatment of students' experiences of curriculum. The foci of this study are to stake a claim for the students' situated positions within educational research and to provide spaces within academic research where students' voices might be heard concerning their experiences of curriculum. After posing the problem of a lack of students' perspectives in educational research, I present the study's methodology: a blending of Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics and van Manen's hermeneutic phenomenology. Terms which seem salient to the study are as follows: silence, voice, conversation, and experience. Categorical thematic sections of hermeneutic conversations offer descriptive interpretations of the participants' lived experiences. Also developed are the themes of desires and distancing that are located within and across categorical thematic distinctions. In dealing with the deaths of two participants, the study turned from a hermeneutic inquiry concerning previously generated text to a consideration of the meanings of the loss of these participants. In so doing, the remaining participants expressed strong feelings of a deeper awareness of self along with the realization of shared, common concerns with friends, family, and self. The notion of care and its absence in curriculum became the focus of attention. The hermeneutic conversations end with an awareness that the study's findings will live on as part of the memories of the participants and researcher in the shape of tentative questions rather than final answers.