In this perspective a definition of transformative research (TR) is proposed and discussed. We define TR as that which “transforms” or causes a major change in thought patterns concerning an area of scientific endeavor. This type of research is often elusive, requires different approaches and sometimes depends on a bit of luck. TR concerns intangibles such as human intuition, serendipity, unpredictable events, implausible hypotheses, a well-prepared mind and often interpersonal communications. Examples are provided to illustrate how TR may unfold. Contributions it makes to basic and applied humanistic knowledge are highlighted.