Over the last two decades qualitative research has seen significant shifts towards the narrative, reflexive and creative. And yet, analytical frameworks do not seem to have stayed abreast of these developments. Using research into the construction of identity under the influence of fibromyalgia as an example, this paper seeks to exemplify a reflexive approach to data analysis that accounts for the researcher’s positionality as well as the increasingly untraditional, unconventional data stemming from creative data collection methods. The paper provides insight into data analysis and reflexivity and offers two practical examples of reflexive data analysis—an illustrated poem and an installation. After an outline of the processes and practical steps involved in the creation of these analytical outcomes, the paper concludes with thoughts relating to challenges, potential areas of application and a look to the future of this innovative approach to data analysis. In this approach, data analysis is in itself a form of knowledge generation through the process of assemblage and “listening to gut feelings.” This approach may be seen as unscientific, but given its advantages in relation to new insights, dissemination and communication of ideas, this approach is more fruitful than detrimental to developing qualitative research further.


Reflexivity, Reflective Practice, Reflexive Data Analysis, Creative Data Collection Methods, Qualitative Research, Messy Data, Arts-Based Research Practice

Author Bio(s)

Nicole Brown is Lecturer in Education at the UCL Institute of Education and a doctoral researcher at the University of Kent. Her research interests lie with advancing learning and teaching and ways of improving the generation of knowledge. She therefore investigates creative and innovative research methodologies. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: nicole.brown@ucl.ac.uk.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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