The subjectivity of qualitative researchers can be a contribution to qualitative research which at the same time requires commitment to on-going critical reflexivity regarding one’s positionality. More specifically, we address how to navigate the possibility that researcher subjectivity can culminate in role-confusion when the researcher is highly familiar with the research setting or research participants, when positioned as an “insider.” We do this by adopting a critical paradigm approach that investigates the efficacy of “unlearning” as a strategy for challenging one’s assumptions as a researcher, particularly those assumptions that challenge the co-construction of knowledge that extends from research presuppositions. Drawing upon theoretical and methodological literature, we argue that intersubjective reflection is crucial to the process of unlearning. By critically reflecting on subjectivity, it becomes possible to deconstruct our research approach and its underlying assumptions, as well as our research findings. In turn, this creates space to unpack our role in how these approaches, assumptions, and findings are formulated, as well as space to challenge and reformulate these based on dialogue with participants. Through critical reflexivity addressing subjectivity and positionality in the context of research relations, researchers are challenged to consider how their insider knowledge, based on their individual experiences and personal meanings, can impinge on the research process.
reflexivity, subjectivity, unlearning, insider position, outsider position
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Recommended APA Citation
Mohler, E. C., & Rudman, D. (2022). Negotiating the Insider/Outsider Researcher Position within Qualitative Disability Studies Research. The Qualitative Report, 27(6), 1511-1521. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2022.5047