Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Intuitive Inquiry Research Method

By Megbarker @megbarkerpsych

Joanna Blake writes on Intuitive Inquiry:

Intuitive inquiry was introduced by Rosemarie Anderson (1998) to study transformative experiences. Anderson (2004) states ―intuitive inquiry is an epistemology of the heart that joins intuition to intellectual precision in a hermeneutical process of interpretation. Intuitive inquiry has been informed by feminist theory, heuristic inquiry, hermeneutics, phenomenology, and Gendlin’s Focusing and thinking beyond patterns.

It is a method that invites the exploration of complex experiences in an intersubjective state between researcher and that which is studied. It is a method that encourages creative work in a flexible process of scholarly cycling of literature with data collected. In addition, intuitive inquiry allows complexity to exist, and its depths to be plumbed without reducing the experiences studied to sectional analyses. However, the constant cycling from the expansive to the particular and vice versa is not for the faint of heart or thought! Intellectual discernment, along with intuition, is at the heart of doing intuitive inquiry well.

Intuitive inquiry contains five cycles, two in the forward arc in which the topic is honed and initial lenses are developed, and three cycles on the return arc in which the data collected is summarized. Lenses are developed through intuitive engagement with and intellectual discernment of the study‘s data, and, finally, these are integrated with the literature review. Intuitive inquiry is found to be a unique postmodern method useful in the study of western patriarchal history, as it is situated outside the traditional cultural framework.


Anderson, R. (1998). Intuitive inquiry: A transpersonal approach. In W. Braud & R. Anderson, Transpersonal research methods for the social sciences: Honoring human experience (pp. 69-94). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Anderson, R. (2004). An epistemology of the heart for scientific inquiry. The Humanistic Psychologist, 32(4), 307-341.

Phelon, C. R. (2004). Healing presence in the psycho-therapist: An intuitive inquiry. The Humanistic Psychologist32(4), 342-356.

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