Good point. I think this is a common approach taken by academics. Kripal talks about this in his books, he calls it "making the cut". I believe it's a formal approach to research known as "phenomenological research" and is quite standard in some humanities fields. The anthropoligist Jack Hunter talks about it some. Diana Pasulka also talked about this when she talks about just looking at the phenomena without making judgments about whether it's real or not. Toward the end of the Pasulka interview, Alex called her out a bit when she said she wasn't sure if craft had ever visited. Alex called her out and said something to effect of "of course we know--if there's artifacts that exist, it's game over on that question." But I'm not so sure that's the case --- I think there's something to be said for having the discipline to leave space open for phenomena that we can't imagine ... And when a person makes a judgment, which of course is anybody's prerogative to do, it forecloses other perhaps more whimsical interpretations. Just my two cents.
I think academics come on "layman" podcasts and lightly reference this research method, but are perhaps hesitant to go into the details because the details can get a little hairy. That said, I think if we really want to understand these interesting perspectives from these academics, we kinda/sorta need to get into the philosophical underpinning of their methods, at least a little bit more than is typically done on the different podcasts. I think we are ready for it, and i think it could shed some more interesting light on things, even from the "social engineering" side of things. In my limited experience, research methods can be a contentious topic within academia, and they can be an interesting angle on the broader politics of knowledge, etc.