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The need for postpositivist or antipositivist methods in the social sciences, including library and information science, is well documented. A promising alternative synthesizes critical realism and phenomenology. This method embraces ontological reality in all things, including human and social action. The ontology underlying the realist phenomenological approach recognizes, following Bhaskar, intransitive and transitive objects of knowledge (mind‐independent reality and individual and social perceptions of that reality). The synthesis encompasses some particular elements, including perceptions of parts and wholes, the reconciliation of presence and absence, and the essential character of intentionality. Withholding judgment (exercising a particular kind of skepticism) enables inquirers to delve into the historicity and background of action. Potential uses of the method are manifold; some specifics are examined here.