In this paper we present the importance of detailing the contextual conditions of a qualitative study to highlight any potential participant-researcher tensions. We emphasize the importance of understanding context in rich detail to expose societal complexities while maintaining positive participant-research rapport. Through two cases, this paper considers that bracketing, reflexivity, and transparency can be applied to form appropriate strategies to deal with external disruptions to qualitative fieldwork. The cases draw on Brexit’s impact on two studies conducted in the United Kingdom. In so doing, we argue that time, relevance, and the individuals involved can coalesce to express varied influences on a study. Thus, bracketing, reflexivity and transparency become vital to dealing with such influences; particularly when they are disruptive to a study. Overall, the strategic approach outlined by this paper can be used to maximise awareness of potential sources of tension in the field and to deal with any tensions that do arise.


qualitative fieldwork, bracketing, transparency, reflexivity, Brexit

Author Bio(s)

Shukru Esmene is a Research Fellow working across the Geography Department and Institute of Health Research at the University of Exeter (Cornwall). His research uses qualitative methods to explore how existing academic research relating to environmental and health issues can be adapted for implementation in specific places and communities. The approaches he uses focusses on building a detailed understanding of contextual influences, these include political, cultural and socio-economic factors.

Dr Shukru Esmene, PhD. Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Peter Lanyon Building, Penryn Campus, Treliever Road, TR10 9FE. Email: s.esmene@exeter.ac.uk Telephone: 07725882799

Nick Kirsop-Taylor is a Lecturer in the Politics department of the University of Exeter (Cornwall) who conducts research at the intersection of environmental politics, green public administration, and public policy. His research seeks to understand the mechanisms and interventions through which the state and bureaucracy can be mobilised as radical environmental actors.

Dr Nick Kirsop-Taylor, PhD. Department of Politics, College of Social Sciences and International Studies, University of Exeter.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

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







To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.