Phenomenology:  How do you know what you see? 

"Phenomenological psychology is therefore a search for the essence, or meaning, but not apart from the facts.  Finally this essence is accessible only in and through the individual situation in which in appears."  - Merleau Ponty

"The Thing Itself" Explains Its Self  

In practical terms, phenomenology is something you do more than something you think about. 

Phenomenology respects a thing as it exists in the world and holds that most of what you need to know about it is right there.  It discourages the abstractions and theories that we humans tend to spin around things, because we lose important aspects when we do this.  Phenomenologists use the phrase "bracketing" which means to set to the side whatever you think you already know about the thing and give yourself a chance to listen as it tells you something new. 

You can pick up and start using Phenomenology right now by paying full and varied attention to the thing you are studying - its surface, its characteristics, the way it feels to you, what makes this thing unique, what it is reminiscent of.  Don't stray from what you are seeing and experiencing.  Stay in the moment and stay with the thing.

In many respects, Phenomenology goes against the modern grain because it holds that distance from a thing - objectivity - will NOT get you to the fullest truth.  Not that we should become purely subjective and somehow intuit our way to understanding.  The idea is to get the distance right - to stay in the space that balances knowledge, observation, and intuition and remains always open.