Qualitative researchers come into the research field embodied with all their background experiences and interpretations of the phenomenon they are studying. These all have a bearing on the study undertaken. Reflexivity therefore becomes imperative, not only in the knowledge and data generating process, analysis, and interpretation but also in legitimizing qualitative studies. This paper explores the significance of reflexivity as a critical and crucial strategy in qualitative studies. I do this by unpacking the partial, positioned, and effective perspectives that I brought into research that sought to explore vulnerable children’s gender constructions in three (3) rural schools in Eswatini. In this paper, I discuss my interactions with the participants – as a connected knower, as well as the emotionally charged interview spaces which might have indeed influenced data generation as well as analysis. I also detail how data generation was not only an emotionally arduous process but, reflecting on the research findings gave me space to think about my preconceived views, which led to the critique and analysis of my own beliefs, views and perceptions on vulnerability and gender. At the same time detailing how my position helped me to critically analyse the research findings from a point of reference in ways that enriched the study aimed at enhancing equitable gender experiences for the vulnerable children in these contexts.


gender, qualitative research, reflexivity, vulnerable children, Eswatini

Author Bio(s)

Ncamsile Daphne Motsa is currently a Postdoctoral scholar in the College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is formerly a rural high school teacher in Eswatini, and her research interests are in gender, children’s vulnerabilities, and social justice in education. Please direct correspondence to ncamsiledaphne@gmail.com.


I wish to acknowledge my PhD supervisor, Professor Pholoho J. Morojele for the critical insights he provided in helping me conceptualise, write up and complete this article

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