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

Epoché is the process of bracketing away preconceptions and taken-for-granted when analysisng the world, in an attempt to understand the essential nature of the world.

explanatory context


analytical review

Encyclopædia Britannica (2013):

epoché, in Greek philosophy, “suspension of judgment,” a principle originally espoused by nondogmatic philosophical Skeptics of the ancient Greek Academy who, viewing the problem of knowledge as insoluble, proposed that, when controversy arises, an attitude of noninvolvement should be adopted in order to gain peace of mind for daily living.

The term was employed in the 20th century by Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology, who saw it as a technique, more fundamental than that of abstraction and the examination of essences, that serves to highlight consciousness itself. The philosopher should practice a sort of Cartesian doubt....

Beyer (2011) wrote:

...Husserl demanded (in Ideas) that in a phenomenological description proper the existence of the object(s) (if any) satisfying the content of the intentional act described must be “bracketed”. That is to say, the phenomenological description of a given act and, in particular, the phenomenological specification of its intentional content, must not rely upon the correctness of any existence assumption concerning the object(s) (if any) the respective act is about. Thus, the epoché has us focus on those aspects of our intentional acts and their contents that do not depend on the existence of a represented object out there in the extra-mental world.

associated issues


related areas

See also

Researching the Real World Section 2.3.1


Beyer, C., 2011, 'Edmund Husserl', first published 28 February 2003, substantive revision 5 December 2011, available at, accessed 25 February 2013, still available 3 June 2019.

Encyclopædia Britannica, 2013, available at, last updated 2 December 2011, accessed 25 February 2013, still available 3 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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