Foundations and Practice of Research:
Adventures with Dooyeweerd's Philosophy

Andrew Basden

Cover of Foundations and Practice of Research


Example diagrams:

From Figure 4.2, Functioning and being in the ocean of meaningfulness (1280,900)

Towards an holistic understanding of complexity: Figure 4.2 Functioning and being in the ocean of meaningfulness (adapted)

Figure 11.7, Aspectual profiles for healthcare workers and health record literature (688,975]

Aspects used in gaining an overview of what is meaningful: Figure 11.7. Relative importance of each aspect (%) in work with healthcare record.

What is unique about this book? And what is useful?

Foundations and Practice of Research : Adventures with Dooyeweerd's Philosophy
offers a different way of looking at research, which opens up new avenues, ecnourages new paradigms, and resolves long-standing conundrums - and yet is sensitive to the realities of doing research and the realities of what is researched in all fields. This book ...

  • covers research across all fields - whether in mathematics, the physical and natural sciences, the cognitive, design, social or societal sciences or the humanities;
  • helps us understand research as such - rather than research of any one type;
  • develops a view of research as closely interwoven with everyday experience;
  • offers a way to welcome and investigate diversity and the unexpected, but also coherence;
  • is orientated to meaningfulness and motivations, rather than just processes and structures;
  • treats ethics and normativity as innate, not bolted-on;
  • recognises the non-neutrality of all research and its 'religious roots';
  • is philosophically grounded in a transcendental critique deeper than that of Immanuel Kant ...
  • and yet which has proven immensely practical, intuitive and sensitive in its use;
  • opens up the hidden aspects of the practice of research, and in the fields being studied.

You are invited to join the adventure of exploring how Dooyeweerd's ideas can benefit research.

In Routledge's catalogue - to order the book.

Now available in Paperback, as well as Hardback and e-book.


What does it tell me, as a researcher?

We all know that real-life research is complicated and hides many pitfalls. Chapter 10, which is about the very real human activity of research, helps us understand the complications and how to manage them. Chapter 11, the longest in the book, gives examples of actual research using the framework being explored in the book, Dooyeweerd's philosophy. Both chapters could be read before any others, the only thing you need is a meagre understanding of Dooyeweerd's aspects as fifteen different ways in which reality is meaningful and good, or dysfunctional; these are outlined in Chapter 3 and discussed in Chapter 9, which also explains why we choose Dooyeweerd's suite of aspects over other ones. That this is applicable to all fields - mathematics, natural sciences, psychological and design sciences, social and societal sciences and the humanities - as discussed in Chapter 8.

But, in reading Chapters 10 and 11, we might encounter some unconventional ideas and find ourselves challenged by new perspectives. At first we might gloss over them, but would soon want to dig deeper. New perspectives on what research is are set out briefly in Chapter 1 but then explained, discussed and justified in Chapters 6 and 7. We would find ourselves asking, "Where did Dooyeweerd's ideas come from? Where does he fit in?" That is answered in Chapter 5.

We might want to understand more deeply the nature of complexity as such; this is discussed, as diversity and coherence, in Chapter 3. The idea of meaningfulness might be new to us; this is discussed in Chapter 4, which also sets out the bulk of Dooyeweerd's philosophy. The relationship between research and everyday experience is discussed in Chapter 2. Some criticisms of Dooyeweerd's ideas are assembled in Chapter 11, so that you may approach Dooyeweerd with an open mind.

Throughout the text, you will find cross references to relevant material in other chapters.

Foreword by Professor Peter Kawalek

Index with clickable cross-references that readers may peruse


Contents with Summaries

Click to read the summaries of each section to find out what the book says.

Read Whole Contents. Or see individual chapters (each designed to be read in any order):

Here is a Longer Description

This book is designed to stimulate researchers in any field, to think about the practice of their research and its foundations. It is the result of 25 years reflective experience of using a little-known philosophy in my research in the interdisciplinary fields of digital systems and environmental sustainability - that of the late Herman Dooyeweerd.

Many of the issues on which meaningful research is founded are seldom discussed, for example the role of everyday experience; diversity and coherence of meaning in the world; the meaningfulness and wider mandate of research; the very nature and validity of theoretical thought; the deep presuppositions of philosophy and how they undermine the success of research.

Such questions are material to the philosophies that guide research thinking in all fields. Since they cannot be satisfactorily addressed in a piecemeal fashion this book employs the radically different philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd to consider them together. Whilst Parts I and II discuss these issues theoretically and philosophically, Part III discusses them practically -- the adventures that researchers across the world have had using Dooyeweerd's philosophy.

A wide range of experience of using Dooyeweerd's philosophy in research has been assembled, from mathematics, the natural sciences, the social sciences, design sciences and the humanities. The case studies discuss how Dooyeweerd's philosophy has been found fruitful in most stages of research, and the philosophical discussion backs this up. This book challenges researchers to join the adventures, with frequent suggestions of research that could be carried out and questions that need answering.

Researchers might like to replicate some of the examples given, and then branch out on their own 'adventures'. The book provides a self-contained explanation and critical discussion of Dooyeweerd that should be deep and broad enough for researchers to begin using his ideas, along with pointers to further study.

The book discusses how Dooyeweerd's philosophy, by seeing research and the world in new ways, can be useful in the following stages of research, across all fields

Dooyeweerd's Philosophy in Each Stage of Research
Literature review: Dooyeweerd helps gain an overview of a body of literature, reveal hidden meanings and motivations in papers, identify seminal papers, and more systematiclly identify gaps in the literature. Conceptual model: Dooyeweerd helps critique accepted conceptual models, paradigms and worldviews, and suggest new frameworks to guide research. Research methods : Dooyeweerd clarifies the suitability of each research method, but goes beyond methods to reveal the hidden aspects of the whole of research practice, which can often undermine the success of research.
Data collection: Dooyeweerd can guide, and reduce bias in, observation and experiment, questionnaire formulation and interviewing, ensuring nothing salient is overlooked. Dooyeweerd can encourage interviewees to speak about things they feel may be irrelevant or embarrassing. Data analysis: Dooyeweerd is very useful in revealing myriad down-to-earth issues in everyday life of people (for example around healtcare records or education), making visible issues often overlooked. Future research and Application: Dooyeweerd shows where to look for unusual possibilities and encourages wisdom in application.

For Those interested in Dooyeweerd's Philosophy:

Created 24 September 2019. Latest update: 4 October 2019 corrected filename 'contents.html'. 8 October 2019 more intro. 2 November 2019 foreword and explanation of contents. 4 November 2019 better contents. 6 November 2019 For those interested in Dooyeweerd. 17 December 2019 added Unique. 3 March 2020 swapped intro. 18 November 2020 added what as researcher. 10 July 2021 new figure, link to purchase moved up; available in paperback; longer description moved to before table.