You are here

Delays in shipping: Due to current delays in our warehouse shipping services, please expect longer than usual delivery times for any print journal orders. Our books are available as usual via retailers and online from

Digital inspection copies are still available to request. If you require a print inspection copy, please contact your local Academic Sales Consultant.

For further assistance please visit our Contact us page. Thank you for your patience and we apologise for the inconvenience.

Naturalistic Inquiry

Naturalistic Inquiry

June 1985 | 416 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Showing how science is limited by its dominant mode of investigation, Lincoln and Guba propose an alternative paradigma "naturalistic" rather than "rationalistic" method of inquiryin which the investigator avoids manipulating research outcomes. A "paradigm shift" is under way in many fields, they contend, and go on to describe the different assumptions of the two approaches regarding the nature of reality, subject-object interaction, the possibility of generalization, the concept of causality, and the role of values. The authors also offer guidance for research in the field (where, they say, naturalistic inquiry always takes place). Useful tips are given, for example, on "designing" a study as it unfolds, establishing "trustworthiness," and writing a case report. This book helps researchers "both to understand and to do naturalistic inquiry." Of particular interest to educational researchers, it is valuable for all social scientists involved with questions of qualitative and quantitative methodology.
Post-Positivism and the Naturalistic Paradigm
Is the Naturalistic Paradigm the Genuine Article?
Constructed Realities
The Disturbing and Disturbed Observer
The Only Generalization is
There is no Generalization

Is Causality a Viable Concept?
Is Being Value-Free Valuable?
Doing What Comes Naturally
Designing a Naturalistic Inquiry
Implementing the Naturalistic Inquiry
Establishing Trustworthiness
Processing Naturalistically-Obtained Data
Case Reporting, Member Checking, and Auditing

"An interesting, well written, fascinating critique of positivism. I wish this would be sufficient to put the nails in the coffin of positivism once and for all."

Ian I. Mitroff
University of Southern California

"This book provides a clear discussion of the essential elements of positivism and post-positivism. It also provides a useful set of guidelines for conducting research within the framework of naturalism. Lincoln and Guba reveal the chinks in the armor of conventional methodological ideas. Their writing draws on a vast array of examples and provides a new vocabulary for thinking about method."

Shulamit Reinharz
Brandeis University

"This book will interest graduate students and educational researchers as well as social scientists struggling with qualitative and quantitative methodologies. A breath of fresh air."


"Overall, this volume serves as a good introductory text in naturalistic inquiry and field research courses."

International Journal of Intercultural Relations

"The book itself is a good illustration of our inclination towards and our need of more general descriptions...If one wants to inform oneself about the paradigmatic discussion and the development of research methodology within the area of studies of social fields, it is a very interesting book."

Instructional Science

For instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9780803924314