Although there has been much discussion about distinctions between quantitative and qualitative research, our purpose here is not to revive those conversations, but instead to attempt to explore and articulate our identities as researchers who practice in the qualitative tradition. Using autoethnography as our methodology, we as six researchers from various social science disciplines and at various career stages engaged in focused introspection by responding individually to two questions: who am I as a qualitative researcher; and how did I come to that understanding? This reflection led to discussions of those elements and experiences that have shaped the way we see ourselves in the context of our research. The question of “identity” evolved into a discussion about “what we do.” During our data analysis, six themes emerged, representing our group’s responses: (a) building epistemology, (b) making/doing good research, (c) as an art or craft, (d) why does qualitative research need legitimating? (e) qualitative research as a social bridge, and (f) stewards of people’s lived experience. We conclude by reflecting on the value of building a community of practice among qualitative researchers.
Qualitative Research, Researcher Self-Identity, Auto-Ethnography, Epistemology
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Recommended APA Citation
Roger, K., Bone, T. A., Heinonen, T., Schwartz, K., Slater, J., & Thakrar, S. (2018). Exploring Identity: What We Do as Qualitative Researchers. The Qualitative Report, 23(3), 532-546. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2018.2923