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3 Research Design and Methodology

In heuristic methodology one seeks to obtain qualitative depictions that are at the heart and depths of a person's experience—depictions of situations, events, conversations, relationships, feelings, thoughts, values, and beliefs. A heuristic quest enables the investigator to collect “excerpts or entire passages from documents, correspondence, records and case histories” (Patton, 1986, p. 187). The researcher gathers detailed descriptions, direct quotations, and case documentations. Such qualitative methods enable the researcher to derive the raw material of knowledge and experience from the empirical world. Douglass and Moustakas (1985) compared qualitative research with the traditional paradigm, noting that traditional empirical investigations presuppose cause-effect relationships while the qualitatively oriented heuristic scientist seeks to discover the nature and meaning of the phenomenon itself and to illuminate it from direct first-person accounts of individuals who have directly encountered the phenomenon in experience. In the Douglass and Moustakas study, heuristic inquiry was contrasted with phenomenological research as ...

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