ONLINE DOSSIER: CLARK MOUSTAKAS »HEURISTIC RESEARCH: DESIGN, METHODOLOGY, AND APPLICATIONS«
Moustakas, Clark E. Heuristic Research : Design, Methodology, and Applications. Newbury Park: Sage Publications, 1990.
»The root meaning of heuristic comes from the Greek word heuriskein, meaning to discover or to find. It refers to a process of internal search through which one discovers the nature and meaning of experience and develops methods and procedures for further investigation and analysis. The self of the researcher is present throughout the process and, while understanding the phenomenon with increasing depth, the researcher also experiences growing self-awareness and self-knowledge. Heuristic processes incorporate creative self-processes and self-discoveries.
The cousin word of heuristics is eureka, exemplified by the Greek mathematician Archimedes' discovery of a principle of buoyancy. While taking a bath, he experienced a sudden, striking realization— the “aha” phenomenon—and ran naked through the streets shouting “eureka!” The process of discovery leads investigators to new images and meanings regarding human phenomena, but also to realizations relevant to their own experiences and lives.« p.9
»The heuristic process is a way of being informed, a way of knowing. Whatever presents itself in the consciousness of the investigator as perception, sense, intuition, or knowledge represents an invitation for further elucidation. What appears, what shows itself as itself, casts a light that enables one to come to know more fully what something is and means. In such a process not only is knowledge extended but the self of the researcher is illuminated. Descartes' assertion accurately describes the perspective of the heuristic researcher: No one can convince me “that I am nothing as long as I think myself to be something … I am, I exist, every time it is pronounced by me, or mentally conceived, it necessarily is true,” (Descartes, 1977).« p.10–11
»Heuristic research is a demanding process. It requires “rigorous definition, careful collection of data, and a thorough and disciplined analysis. It places immense responsibility on the researcher.” (Frick, 1990, p. 79). In heuristic research the investigator must have had a direct, personal encounter with the phenomenon being investigated. There must have been actual autobiographical connections. Unlike phenomenological studies in which the researcher need not have had the experience (e.g., giving birth through artificial insemination), the heuristic researcher has undergone the experience in a vital, intense, and full way—if not the experience as such, then a comparable or equivalent experience.« p.14
»The heuristic research process is not one that can be hurried or timed by the clock or calendar. It demands the total presence, honesty, maturity, and integrity of a researcher who not only strongly desires to know and understand but is willing to commit endless hours of sustained immersion and focused concentration on one central question, to risk the opening of wounds and passionate concerns, and to undergo the personal transformation that exists as a possibility in every heuristic journey.« p.14
I N T U I T I O N
»From the tacit dimension, a kind of bridge is formed between the implicit knowledge inherent in the tacit and the explicit knowledge which is observable and describable. The bridge between the explicit and the tacit is the realm of the between, or the intuitive. In intuition, from the subsidiary or observable factors one utilizes an internal capacity to make inferences and arrive at a knowledge of underlying structures or dynamics. Intuition makes immediate knowledge possible without the intervening steps of logic and reasoning. While the tacit is pure mystery in its focal nature—ineffable and unspecifiable— in the intuitive process one draws on clues; one senses a pattern or underlying condition that enables one to imagine and then characterize the reality, state of mind, or condition. In intuition we perceive something, observe it, and look and look again from clue to clue until we surmise the truth.
The more that intuition is exercised and tested, the more likely one will develop an advanced perceptiveness and sensitivity to what is essential in discovery of knowledge. Polanyi (1969) views the lived, expressed intuition as a skill, developed into effectiveness through practice. Referring to intuition, he states that “great powers of scientific intuition are called originality, for they discover things that are most surprising and make men see the world in a new way” (p. 118). Intuition makes possible the perceiving of things as wholes.« p.23
»At every step along the way, the heuristic researcher exercises intuitive clues and make necessary shifts in method, procedure, direction, and understanding which will add depth, substance, and essential meanings to the discovery process. Intuition is an essential characteristic of seeking knowledge. Without the intuitive capacity to form patterns, relationships, and inferences, essential material for scientific knowledge is denied or lost. Intuition facilitates the researcher's process of asking questions about phenomena that hold promise for enriching life. In substance, intuition guides the researcher in discovery of patterns and meanings that will lead to enhanced meanings, and deepened and extended knowledge.« p.23–24