In this article, we trace interactions with participants in two different research projects. Although the research settings were different, we focus on what the projects had in common: a commitment to collaboration, methodological training from the same faculty, and our respective decisions to turn away from labeling our work collaborative deep into each project’s development. In a narrative as chronicle, we represent ways each project unfolded and then why each of us abandoned claims of collaboration. Specifically, we share the critical positions we staked early in our research designs and the communication with participants that taught us to un-name what had been a priori hopes for collaboration. Subsequently, we represent the effects that un-naming collaboration generated. Using in vivo coding (Saldaña, 2013) to search for explanations of participation, we found that participants wanted to help us. We discuss the theme: “Sharing to Help” and three subthemes. We found participants helped, because (1) a “story told” might “benefit” someone else; (2) participants wanted to challenge stereotypes about people of Color, people in prison, and people in transitional housing; and (3) participants believed in our “concern” and “care” about what it was we were trying to understand.


Participants, Collaboration, Naming Research Design, Ethnography

Author Bio(s)

Allison Daniel Anders is an Assistant Professor in Educational Foundations and Inquiry, and Qualitative Research at the University of South Carolina. She studies the everyday experiences of targeted youth, contexts of education, and qualitative methodologies. She teaches courses in foundations of education, sociology of education, critical race theory, and qualitative research methodologies. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: anders@sc.edu.

Josh D. Diem is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Rhode Island College. He teaches courses in social welfare policy, structural inequality, and research methods. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: joshdiem@gmail.com.

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