By Rosemarie Anderson, Ph.D.
While qualitative approaches have a long history in medicine and philosophy, the formal articulation of qualitative research methods begin with Phenomenological Research and Grounded Theory in the 1960s; Ethnography and Case Study methods in the 1970s; Narrative Research, Heuristic Research, Art- and Body-based Approaches, and Transpersonal Approaches in the 1990s; and Auto-biographical Approaches, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, and Mixed Methods, among others, in the 2000s. Qualitative Methods rapidly secured strong traditions especially in the United Kingdom and the United States and increasingly elsewhere. All these methods are rooted in hermeneutic perspectives developed in Europe in the late 19th C. and 20th C.
The Transpersonal Approach developed by the late William Braud and myself in the mid-1990s and first published in 1998 are essentially “mixed-method approaches,” that endorse both quantitative and qualitative approaches for the study of transpersonal and spiritual topics. However, in addition, to the standards of detailed documentation and analysis, we advocated that transpersonal research incorporate the following principles to guide transpersonal research:
- An interior interpretative and reflective perspective
- Research topics evolve from explicit personal life experience
- Multiple ways of knowing, including intuition and personal insights
- Transformation of self and others through research
- Research as a response to the Sacred world
Rosemarie Anderson is Professor Emerita at Sofia University in Palo Alto, CA. and a research consultant. She received her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1973 and a M. Div. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA in 1983. In 1998, she authored Celtic Oracles (Random House) and co-authored, with William Braud, Transpersonal Research Methods for the Social Sciences (SAGE Pubs), the book that established the field of transpersonal research methods. In 2011, she co-authored Transforming Self and Others Through Research (SUNY Press) with William Braud and co-authored Five Ways of Doing Qualitative Research: Phenomenological Psychology, Grounded Theory, Discourse Analysis, Narrative Research, and Intuitive Inquiry (Guilford, 2011) with Frederick Wertz, Kathy Charmaz, Linda McMullen, Ruthellen Josselson, and Emalina McSpadden. As a research supervisor and consultant, she oversees research using Intuitive Inquiry, Narrative Research, Art- and Body-based Approaches, Case Study, and Mixed Methods (Quantitative and Qualitative). She lives in Oregon and is a student of Denma Locho Rinpoche and Paul Goodberg.