6 Phases of Heuristic Research

I. Initial Engagement

Discover an intense interest, a passionate concern that calls out to the researcher, ont that holds important social meanings and personal, compelling implications. The initial engagement invites self-dialogue, an inner search to discover the topic and question. During tis process one encounters the self, one’s autobiorgraphy, and significant relationships within social context. p. 27

II. Immersion

The immersion process enables the researcher to come to be on intimate terms with the question–to live it and grow in knowledge and understanding of it. The researcher is alert to all possibilities for meaning and enters fully into life with others whenever the theme is being expressed…Virtually anything connected with the question becomes raw material for immersion, for staying with, and for maintaining a sustained focus and concentration. (p. 28)

III. Incubation

The researcher retreats form the intense, concentrated focus of the question. Although the researcher is moving on a totally different path, detached from involvement with the question and removed from awasreness of its nature and meanings, on another level expansion of knowledge is taking place. Neverthe less, growth is taking place. The period of incubation enables the inner tacit dimension to reach its full possibilities. (p. 28)

IV. Illumination

The process of illumination is one that occurs naturally when the researcher is open and receptive to tacit knowledge and intuition. When the researcher is in a receptive state of mind wihtout conscious striving or concentration, the insight or modification occurs. Illumination opens the door to a new awareness, a modification of an old understand, a synthesis of fragmented knowledge, or an altogether new discovery of something that has been present for some time yet beyond immediate awareness. (pp. 29-30)

V. Explication

The purpose of the explication phase is to fully examine what has awakened in consciousness, in order to understand its various layers of meaning. In the explication, the heuristic researcher utilizes focusing, indweling, self-searching, and self-disclosure, and recognizes that meanings are unique and distinctive to an experience and depend upon internal frames of reference. (p. 31)

VI. Creative Synthesis

Once the researcher has mastered knowledge of the material that illuminates and explicates the question, the researcher is challenged to put the components and core themes into a creative synthesis. This usually takes the form of a narrative depiction utilizing verbatim material and examples, but it may be expressed as a poem, story, drawing, painting, or by some other creative form. (pp. 31-32)