Human Science · Inquiry

Human Science


Human scientists prefer the word ‘inquiry’ to ‘research.’

‘Inquiry’ is open to a wider range of methodologies and approaches. This is important because epistemology, the ways that people know what they claim to know, is one of the topics we focus on in inquiry. In examining ways of knowing, we cannot limit ourselves to a positivist approach either to knowing or to inquiry, particularly when positivism itself decrees constraints on ‘acceptable’ ways of knowing and inquiry that are by no means universally accepted.

Traditionally, research is understood to be qualitative or quantitative; methods of inquiry, however, may include approaches that fall outside that binary, that are intrinsically connected to associated ways of knowing.

  • Peer review
  • Qualitative
    • Narrative
      • Narrative Psychology
    • Phenomenological
      • Phenomenological Psychology
    • Grounded Theory
    • Ethnographic
      • Participant Observation
      • Systematic Observation
    • Case Study
    • Discourse Analysis
      • Critical Discourse Analysis
        • Discourse Historical
        • Corpus-Linguistics
        • Social Actors
        • Dispositive
        • Sociocognitive
        • Dialectical-Relational
    • Intuitive Inquiry
    • Critical Incident
    • Intensive Interviewing
    • Focus Group
  • Quantitative
  • (others)

Julia Belluz, Brad Plumer, and Brian Resnick, “The 7 biggest problems facing science, according to 270 scientists,” Vox, September 7, 2016,