Becoming a Reflexive Researcher: Using Our Selves in Research

Becoming a Reflexive Researcher: Using Our Selves in Research

Becoming a Reflexive Researcher: Using Our Selves in Research

Becoming a Reflexive Researcher: Using Our Selves in Research


"This book encourages researchers to reflect on how self-awareness can enrich relationships with those who assist them in their research. It will inspire and challenge students and academics across a wide range of disciplines to find creative ways of practising and representing their research." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


This book has come to represent my own journey as I travelled alongside others who appear within its pages. My stories are reflected in their stories and theirs in mine, and as we witnessed each other’s stories our understandings were enriched, challenged and confirmed.

Stories are full and rich, coming as they do out of personal and social history. People live storied lives and tell stories of those lives, and as a researcher I have collected and re-presented parts of those lives in the hope that they will inform you about the process of becoming a reflexive researcher. I offer these stories in the hope that you can imagine ways to use them in your life or work. By entering into the narratives you may find new questions and hypotheses that lead you to further inquiries of your own. I seek to draw your attention to how these stories are contextualized within cultures, and how they might have changed over time.

The very act of forming stories requires us to create coherence through ordering our experiences, and provides us with an opportunity for reclaiming our selves and our histories. New selves form within us as we tell and re-tell our stories and when we write them down. When we use our own stories, or those of others, for research, we give testimony to what we have witnessed, and that testimony creates a voice (Frank 1995).

While researching this book I have sometimes felt like one of those people who run alongside a marathon runner for a few miles, giving encouragement and nurture. During this study I have received so much from ‘running’ alongside others on their research journeys: as their teacher, as their supervisor, as researcher, or as their colleague. They have been my community – my research community – and it is with them I have learned, played and experimented.

During this study I have been moved, surprised, excited, curious, and transformed by what people have told me. This is what can happen, at best, in community with others. I have also been troubled, anxious, angry, doubtful and bored at times, and wondered why on earth I started down this road. But I have learned from all of this.

On the pages that follow I have created a kind of ‘community’ – a community of voices of people I have met along the way: the voices of men and women seeking to use themselves more fully in their lives and work. It is my hope that you will discover within these pages something that will help you to feel part of . . .

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