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Abstract

This paper offers a historical theoretical discussion and practical perspective on the qualitative paradigm of inquiry referred to as Naturalistic Inquiry (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Moreover, it endeavors to demonstrate the paradigm’s versatility and usefulness when attempting to illuminate phenomena that specifically occur when students experience and interact with engaging, innovative, and experientially based pedagogies (e.g., service-learning, work-integrated learning, community-based learning). This paper presents and paradigmatically supports the researchers’ worldview through a logical primacy and discussion of ontological, epistemological, axiological, and methodological perspectives (Guba & Lincoln, 2001). Following this, Naturalistic Inquiry is identified as a paradigm of inquiry that aligns with the worldview and serves as a useful paradigm for observing phenomena, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting transferable findings with regard to experiential pedagogy. This paper could serve as a citable source and theoretical underpinning advocating and calling for qualitative methodologies and research into student and community engagement.

 

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