How does one be different, methodologically, and/or socially without being ignored, invalidated, or even erased? This is a conundrum for qualitative researchers who are with tasked with valuing difference within socio-political education systems fixed on ideas of truth, rightness, and validity. To explore these tensions, we provide an authentic and transparent illustration of how intuition, an often-invalidated way of knowing, instigated the development of a novel method(ology), soundtracking. Proceeding from an embodied, engaged feminist perspective, we re-conceptualized reflexive praxis as critical, compassionate, and actionable. We explored method(ological) development via layered reflexivity: self, epistemological witness, and social contexts. Through our inquiry based in trust, we developed the idea of reflexive discernment, a process of relating with and to others in ways that support mutual thriving. This current project contributes to considerations for research agendas aimed at increased connections and well-being, ethical praxis, and expanded narratives.


qualitative research, soundtracking, reflexivity, research epistemology, research methodology, feminist inquiry, trust, compassion, witnessing, difference

Author Bio(s)

Maria Rybicki-Newman is a Ph.D. in Education candidate at George Mason University specializing in Qualitative Researcher Methodology and Education Policy. Maria’s current work focuses on reflexivity, researcher positionality, and creative methodologies. Specifically, she is interested in exploring ways in which scholarly spaces, places, and systems might promote and support the difficult, messy work of rigorous reflexive praxis to extrapolate and transform our individual-collective socialization toward Othering. This work has implications for both the process of qualitive inquiry and how researchers are socialized. Please direct correspondence to mrybicki@gmu.edu.

L. Earle Reybold is professor of qualitative research in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University (USA) where she teaches courses in qualitative case study, grounded theory, and advanced qualitative analysis. She also serves as affiliate faculty with the Women and Gender Studies Program and the Higher Education Program. Dr. Reybold has concentrated her research on faculty identity and epistemology, faculty experience of bias and discrimination in the academy, faculty disability, and epistemology of inquiry. Please direct correspondence to ereybold@gmu.edu.


The authors wish to acknowledge Harley's courage and his contribution to the development of this manuscript.

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