Phenomenology is the study of perception, thought, imagination, emotion, memory, and action from the first person/subjective perspective. “Phenomenology is the study of “phenomena”: appearances of things, or things as they appear in our experience, or the ways we experience things.” (Sanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) Thus, Phenomenology is the interpretation consciousness. It is the study of appearance as opposed to the study of reality.
The Sanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that “phenomenology is commonly understood in either of two ways: as a disciplinary field in philosophy, or as a movement in the history of philosophy.” Although the study of “structures of consciousness” have been investigated for ages, it was not until the first half of the 20th century when thinkers such as Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre carved out the movement in their works.
To this day the definition of phenomenology is highly debated. However, The Oxford English Dictionary provides the following definition: “Phenomenology. a. The science of phenomena as distinct from being (ontology). b. That division of any science which describes and classifies its phenomena. From the Greek phainomenon, appearance.”