In practice-based studies, participants are often known to the researcher as part of their professional realm. This can result in the researcher bringing preconceptions of the participants to the study, which may influence the findings. In this paper, we demonstrate how researchers can utilise reflexivity and imaginative curiosity to expose often unconsidered presuppositions about such participants using penned illustrations. We suggest that penned illustrations of known participants should be undertaken to unpack preconceptions of the known participants creatively and imaginatively. This paper provides an applied demonstration of how penned illustrations can be used in a hermeneutic phenomenological study, along with the philosophical foundations supporting this method. The paper guides the reader through why penned illustrations can be helpful in qualitative, hermeneutic phenomenological research when the insider-researcher needs to recognise, manage, and ethically work with the duality of their overlapping researcher and professional roles.


hermeneutic phenomenology, insider-research, penned illustration, positionality, professional doctorate, reflexivity, qualitative

Author Bio(s)

Lewis Barrett-Rodger (https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5723-106X) is a postgraduate researcher completing an Educational Doctorate (EdD) at Anglia Ruskin University. Please direct correspondence to LR640@pgr.aru.ac.uk.

Sally Goldspink is (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4265-2766) an associate professor at Anglia Ruskin University and the Director of the Professional Doctorate Health and Social Care. Her research interests include reflexivity, qualitative research, and adult learning. Please direct correspondence to sally.goldspink@aru.ac.uk.

Hilary Engward (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5419-7131) is an associate professor of Applied Social Sciences in the Veterans and Families Social Military Research Institute, Thriving Families Research Lead, and Deputy Director of the Professional Doctorate Health and Social Care. Her research and teaching a spans military/veteran studies, health care, education, and qualitative research. Please direct correspondence to hilary.engward@aru.ac.uk.

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