Week 25: 1st – 5th August 2016

“Human science seeks to know the reality which is particularly our own, the reality of our experience, actions, and expressions. This realm is closest to us, yet it is most resistant to our attempt to grasp it with understanding. Because of the success we have had knowing the world around us, the human realm has expanded its power to such an extent that we can act to create wellbeing and physical security and comfort and to inflict untold suffering and destruction. Serious and rigorous re-searching of the human realm is required.”
Polkinghorne (1983, p. 280-1)

I’ve done more thinking and contemplation in relation to my research approach. The heuristic inquiry as well as grounded theory as a form of phenomenological research. My project may very well be a mixture of both. As I will be immersing myself in the activity and need to reflect on the experience. There is this element to it in order to answer my question relating to the felt experience in this realm. Thinking of Lefebvre’s triad of spaces. The inquiry in the lived realm justifies the heuristic inquiry. Pending on data quality a new theory may or may not emerge. Therefore I am hesitant to rule out grounded theory at this stage.  But there must be a method in between that works for me.

Play is an activity that forces us to let go of our ego (collaborative play), is transformative of space and time. It transcendence space on all three realms.

Braud, W. & Anderson, R. (Eds) (1998) Transpersonal Research Methods for the Social Sciences: Honoring human experience. Sage. (p.256-283)

Conventional methods: Grounded theory, Action research, Case study, experimental design

Intermediate methods: Phenomenological approach, heuristic approach, participatory inquiry

Transpersonal methods: intuitive inquiry, transpersonal- phenomenological
inquiry, inquiry informed by exceptional human experiences

Researching human experience

Issue with grounded phenomenological experience in relation to play:

The principled experience: leading to knowledge derived from an imposed order. –> play does not have an order
Discovered experience:
derived from everyday happenings, events –> play can be that
Vulgar:  common, ordinary normal experiences –> play is not that
focus on the content of thought (whether real or imagined) —> play can be both as well can be unintentional
Assimilated: expected, predicted, absorbed into our current perspective –> play can be spontaneous
Lived experience: centred in the self –> can be

Opportunities with subtle phenomenological experience in relation to play:

It provides deeper, more meaningful insights and altered state of consciousness.

Discerned experience: leading to knowledge of a “found” order –> as play emerges out of the moment and is born in the empty with no order, it may be very well just be found. Discovered while observing the realms.
Practiced: induced experiences through rituals, shared practices –> playful activity can be very well shared and certain activities such as ball games can have ritual characteristics.
Extraordinary: uncommon, unusual, unique experiences –> play is happening outside of the ordinary as well as a unique experience.
Transcendent: the experience of knowing itself, witnessing the act of knowing –> just me as the observe on the phenomenon can witness this spontaneous act –> therefore I get to know the behaviour.
Transformative:  generating insight and permanent change –> play generates insight in peoples state of mind and place of meaning. However it does not evolve permanent changes
Transpersonal experience:  beyond self, “what am I a part of?” –> play can be very well that.

Conclusive remarks

When researching human experiences and recognising potential tensions between phenomenological experiences, I may very well focus on “subtle” theory generation for all the very reasons mentioned above.


Dave Hils provided valuable insights with his online paper in relation to heuristic inquiry and transpersonal research.

Paper presented to CCPE, London – October, 2001. Dave Hiles 2001







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