How can we proceed?

There will, of course, still be many research questions that can be dealt with by using conventional methods of measurement, especially in evaluation studies that address changes in beginning meditators (e.g., the effectiveness of mindfulness programs in schools or work organizations). Such studies can benefit from developing theory-guided conventional instruments such as the guna or mindfulness questionnaires discussed earlier. Theories of meditation make and will go on making predictions about processes and changes over time, so it would be advantageous both for theory development and testing to increasingly use longitudinal (e.g., daily or weekly) measurement. Last but not least, qualitative methods will often be the only way to test theories in meditation research because of the lack of (and difficulty of constructing) suitable conventional methods of measurement. This holds especially if the researchers’ aim is to find out more about special effects to be expected with experienced practitioners of a specific kind of meditation, or if theories of consciousness are to be tested.

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