In this autoethnographic exploration, we engage in a dialogic investigation to examine how templating and crystallization shape rigor in qualitative research. The use of templates in qualitative research has been widely used as a means of enhancing rigor in organizational research design yet comes with caveats especially when wanting to push boundaries. With the interplay of templates and crystallization, the researcher is encouraged to apply iterative and reflexive modes. The aim here is to inspire and invite researchers to pursue the multiplicity offered by qualitative methodologies and expand the discipline through authentic, trustworthy, and credible approaches. To explore the development of rigor we reflect on five narrative vignettes to abductively review the interplay of templating and crystallization within our academic experiences. The autoethnographic lens provided the scope to engage in our discourse, and practices and to question our emerging insights in pursuit of informed understandings. Whilst the focus is limited, we bring an organizational research view that highlights some of the challenges of the discipline. Three themes that we term tenets – purpose, reflexivity, and transparency – were key in the interplay of templates and the appreciation of crystallization. We found that utilizing a template is a valuable starting point for structure or direction, but the researcher must move beyond to find purpose, extend knowledge, and advance thinking. Transparency is essential to evidence the rigor, authenticity, and transferability of findings. This autoethnographic exploration adds value to the body of qualitative research as we call for rigor especially when there is a tendency for overuse or misuse of templates. To be clear, crystallization is not about doing as you please, but fostering rigor to encourage new ways of sense-making.
templating, crystallization, autoethnography, reflexivity, rigor
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Recommended APA Citation
Stewart, H., Suri, H., Delaney, D., & Rana, V. (2023). Navigating Rigor: An Autoethnographic Exploration of Templating and Crystallization. The Qualitative Report, 28(11), 3149-3168. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2023.5636