It was my personal experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) that motivated me to undertake my dissertation, but during the process I was haunted by my “IPV survivor” identity. Little did I know that my intellectual pursuit was an invitation into personal healing through heuristic inquiry. During the data collection phase of my dissertation, I unconsciously embarked on the initial engagement phase of heuristic inquiry, but only 2 years after completing my dissertation did I realize I experienced six phases of Moustakas’s (1990) heuristic inquiry. In this article, I share how my dissertation healed me through a retrospective analysis using heuristic inquiry. Through the coresearchers’ narratives, I began the process of embracing my IPV survivor identity—analogous to Kintsugi, the Japanese art of joining broken pottery with gold to form a new version of it. Through this process, I have begun to acknowledge my resiliency and, most importantly, feel empowered to engage with others who have had similar experience, connecting to a collective voice of IPV survivors. Thus, I argue that heuristic inquiry not only transforms the researcher but also has a powerful impact on others (Moustakas, 1990), empowering coresearchers and communities. I conclude with a strong recommendation to foster research of personal experiences, as it has the potential to bridge the gap between theory and practice (hooks, 1994).
Heuristic Inquiry, Healing, Dissertation, Intimate Partner Violence, Qualitative Research, Past Trauma
I would like to thank Dr. Andrea Casey for her positive and endearing ways of supporting me through this research, especially amidst the dark and painful phases. I would also like to express my gratitude to Dr. Lionel Howard, who continuously reminded me the value of self-care while researching personal traumatic life experience.
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Recommended APA Citation
Kumar, S. (2017). My Dissertation Healed Me: A Retrospective Analysis Through Heuristic Inquiry. The Qualitative Report, 22(11), 3025-3038. Retrieved from http://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol22/iss11/14