In this paper I aim to illustrate how an epistemological three-way manoeuvre I propose may work in qualitative academic research. Epistemology is critical to my research because I live the topic that I research and in this paper I chart a three-way manoeuvre between and through an articulation of my researcher self, theoretical framing and the intent of the research project. This paper is my response to Jackson and Mazzei’s (2013) work “Plugging One Text into Another: Thinking with Theory in Qualitative Research.” I have included the paper title here to introduce the reader to Jackson & Mazzei’s work earlier in my paper in which they advocate a “plugging in” of ceaseless variations of ideas and theories. I suggest that a “plugging in” of forthright epistemology in academic research is an important text that can “plug into” theory and data for rich explorations in qualitative research. Articulations of epistemological foundations of research allow researchers to be explicit about their worldview and acknowledge that it is integral to their researcher self and therefore impossible to separate from research practice. In this paper I demonstrate a methodological move through epistemology, drawing on the epistemology section in my own research work which details my researcher positioning and is able to examine how my experiences of sole parenting in higher education has influenced and informed this study. I consider three critical incidents; my initial assumptions and judgement about sole parents, regulatory exchanges I experienced as un-helpful as I transitioned into postgraduate education and the institutional structures of postgraduate timetabling as regulatory and potentially exclusionary. Articulating one’s research positionality infuses research with context and embeds a “thinking with theory” which can open up new meanings in research by foregrounding the epistemological pathway that is fundamental to the research process.


Epistemology, Qualitative Inquiry, Recognition, Accountability

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Hook’s research interests explore gendered constructions of sole parent care-work and familial contexts influencing the engagement of sole parent postgraduates in the Australian academy. Drawing on Judith Butler’s theoretical framing of gender performativity and accountability in higher education, she examines parental care-work and equitable engagement for under-represented scholars within academic research and the academy more broadly. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Genine Hook at, genine.hook@monash.edu.

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