Traditional open-ocean navigation practices predicated on catalysing inputs from the external environment have produced nuanced knowledge of Pacific Island phenomena that modern navigational practices predicated on internal mechanics and technology could not. This paper explains how applying this principle can help improve the qualitative research process when investigating hospitality and tourism phenomena in Pacific Island countries (PICs). Specifically, using a recent research project as a platform, this paper outlines how the epistemology of engaged scholarship and methodological tactics of heuristic devices for collecting data in the field can be operationalised in practice to enhance qualitative hospitality and tourism research in PICs. Navigating the research process using externally-oriented epistemological and methodological approaches can support the advancement of knowledge which more accurately accounts for the idiosyncratic nature of hospitality and tourism in this important yet still misunderstood part of the world.
Keywords: Engaged scholarship, hospitality, Pacific Island countries, qualitative research, tourism