Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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core definition

Bracketing (or epochè) is the suspension of preconceived categories or theoretical assertions.

explanatory context

Edmund Husserl introduced the idea of époché (or bracketing) in his transcendental phenomenology. Rather than take the world as objective, Husserl argued that interpreting the world required stepping back from preconceived notions of existence.


Bracketing was also a term adopted by Garfinkel and used in his ethnomethodological studies although it lacks the transcendental aspect developed by Husserl.

analytical review

Roth (2013) makes the link between Husserl and ethnomethodology:

Athroughout his work, Husserl was concerned with questions of consciousness, and because of his focus on intentions and ideas, has been referred to with some legitimacy to be a metaphysical philosopher. However, his sprogram of establishing a science of the natural attitude all the while bracketing it (its concepts) has found its way into sociology in a lineage that includes Husserl > Schutz > Garfinkel and has led to the emergence of ethnomethodology (Garfinkel, 1967)... Just as Husserl bracketed the natural attitude in his research of human consciousness, ethnomethodology brackets the natural attitude in the way it can be found in the everyday world and in the social sciences.


associated issues


related areas

See also


Researching the Real World Section 2.3 for a detailed account of the phenomenological perspective on social research

Researching the Real World Section 2.3.1 for detail on Husserl and bracketing

Researching the Real World Section for account of ethnomethodology


Roth, W-M., 2013, What More in/for Science Education: An ethnomethodological perspective, Switzerland, Springer.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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