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The use of a research diary as a tool for reflexive practice: Some reflections from management research

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Abstract

Purpose To provide a practical example of how a research diary can be used to aid reflexivity in the research process. Whilst there have been increasing calls for reflexivity in management research, little has been written about how to “do” reflexivity in practice. Design/methodology/approach Qualitative data from the first author's research diary which relate to three distinctive experiences are used as analytical examples. Findings The research diary was a valuable tool, prompting insights which informed a variety of methodological and theoretical decisions in relation to the research. Practical implications Suggests that all researchers should systematically use a research diary, regardless of epistemological position. However, what is needed first and foremost is a commitment to the pursuit of reflexivity and awareness on ones' own epistemological assumptions. Originality/value The paper gives a practical example of how to practice reflexivity, something which is lacking in the current literature. It is intended to be of use to those management researchers interested in pursuing reflexive research.
The use of a research diary as
a tool for reflexive practice
Some reflections from management research
Sara Nadin
University of Bradford, Bradford, UK, and
Catherine Cassell
Manchester Business School, Manchester, UK
Abstract
Purpose – To provide a practical example of how a research diary can be used to aid reflexivity in
the research process. Whilst there have been increasing calls for reflexivity in management research,
little has been written about how to “do” reflexivity in practice.
Design/methodology/approach – Qualitative data from the first author’s research diary which
relate to three distinctive experiences are used as analytical examples.
Findings – The research diary was a valuable tool, prompting insights which informed a variety of
methodological and theoretical decisions in relation to the research.
Practical implications Suggests that all researchers should systematically use a research diary,
regardless of epistemological position. However, what is needed first and foremost is a commitment to
the pursuit of reflexivity and awareness on ones’ own epistemological assumptions.
Originality/value – The paper gives a practical example of how to practice reflexivity, something
which is lacking in the current literature. It is intended to be of use to those management researchers
interested in pursuing reflexive research.
Keywords Research, Research methods, Qualitative research
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Reflexivity involves reflecting on the way in which research is carried out and
understanding how the process of doing research shapes its outcomes (Hardy et al.,
2001). Based upon the notion that research is an interpretive activity, positivist notions
of objectivity and empirical facts are rejected. The research process is regarded as
being subject to a variety of influences which impact upon the interpretations
generated, thus a reflexive stance is required in order to identify and understand what
these influences are. In this sense, “reflection can be defined as the interpretation of
interpretation and the launching of critical self exploration of one’s own interpretations
of empirical material” (Alvesson and Skoldberg, 2000, p. 6; original italics).
Whilst more commonly associated with the disciplines of sociology and
ethnography, reflexivity is emerging as a key issue for qualitative researchers
within the management field. A number of authors have in recent years outlined
different approaches or models to reflexivity, and the various benefits it can have for
management and organizational research more generally (Alvesson and Skoldberg,
2000; Johnson and Duberley, 2003; Cunliffe, 2003; Weick, 2002). Potential benefits in
relation to qualitative research relate to both a greater understanding of the role and
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
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Qualitative Research in Accounting &
Management
Vol. 3 No. 3, 2006
pp. 208-217
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
1176-6093
DOI 10.1108/11766090610705407
impact of the researcher (Cassell, 2005), and an increased “trustworthiness” of the data,
and general “integrity” in the research process (Finlay, 2002, p. 531).
There seems to be general agreement amongst authors therefore that reflexivity is a
good thing, yet it is also seen as a difficult process which varies according to the tacit
metatheoretical commitments of the researcher (Johnson and Duberley, 2003). An
additional complication, particularly pertinent to this paper, is that there is little
information available to the qualitative researcher about how to “do” reflexivity in
practice. As Mauthner and Doucet (2003, p. 413; emphasis in the original) suggest:
“Whilst the importance of being reflexive is acknowledged within social science
research, the difficulties, practicalities and methods of doing it are rarely addressed”.
The aim of this paper is to assess the use of a research diary as a potential tool for
reflexive analysis. Drawing on empirical work in the field of small businesses, we
outline a practical example of a research diary in use and analyse the extent to which it
enables reflexivity in the research process. First, we outline some of the key issues in
relation to reflexivity in management research, and highlight our position in relation to
these issues.
2. The call for increased reflexivity in management research
In management and organizational research the call for reflexivity has emerged
relatively recently compared to other social science disciplines (Cunliffe, 2003).
Engaging in “thinking about our own thinking” (Johnson and Duberley, 2003, p. 1279)
is seen as one way of enhancing the quality of qualitative management research and
examples can now be found throughout the field. These include theoretical papers
which identify different types of reflexivity, (Johnson and Duberley, 2003; Holland,
1999); more critical discussions of existing research methodologies and how they can
be enhanced through reflexivity, (Hardy and Clegg, 1997; Cox and Hassard, 2005); the
role of reflexivity when occupying or negotiating the dual role of consultant and
researcher, (Johnson et al., 1999; Chau and Witcher, 2005; Lalle, 2003); and the role of
reflexivity in cross-cultural research, (Easterby-Smith and Malina, 1999). Discussions
about reflexive research are also found in those areas more traditionally associated
with quantitative methods of inquiry, such as accounting and finance (Humphrey and
Lee, 2004).
Alvesson and Skoldberg (2000, p. vii; emphasis in the original) suggest that
promoting a more reflective approach by incorporating ideas from the philosophy of
science, (such as epistemic considerations), represents an attempt to “raise the level of
qualitative method” through its “intellectualization”. Reflexivity in this context enables
both in-depth thinking about the methods we use and the epistemological
commitments that underlie them. Other authors have also pointed to the benefits of
reflexivity for the qualitative researcher. Finlay (2002) for example, suggests that apart
from the advantages of enhanced trustworthiness of the data and an enhanced
understanding of the role of the researcher, reflexivity in itself can be empowering:
Coming out through reflexive analysis is ultimately a political act. Done well, it has the
potential to enliven, teach, and spur readers toward a more radical consciousness. Voicing the
unspoken can empower both researcher and participant (Finlay, 2002, p. 531).
A further benefit can be seen in the impact of theory development. Weick (2002, p. 893)
suggests that “theory construction in the new millennium is partly an exercise in
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disciplined reflexivity” and that “this newer attention to self-as theorist makes for
better theory” in the field, with the proviso that the attention is directed towards
“spotting excluded voices and” and “thinking more deeply about topics” Additionally
reflexivity can be seen as an ongoing process in relation to learning: “reflexivity
encourages us to strive not to be complacent and to continue to review and critique our
own research practice” (Cassell and Symon, 2004, p. 506).
Given the benefits of increased reflexivity for the management researcher, it is
perhaps surprising that there is little information available about how we can actually
do reflexivity in practice. Finlay (2002) suggests that reflexive analysis is always
problematic as the complex and often ambiguous nature of research means that those
processes are often difficult to unfold. Cunliffe (2003, p. 984) argues that within the field
of management and organizational research there are “comparatively few discussions
about the issues involved in reflexive research practice”. In speculating why this
maybe the case, a number of potential reasons come to mind. Firstly, it may be that
researchers are conducting their research in a reflexive way, but it is rarely being
reported. It could be that reporting on such issues does not tie in neatly with the
traditional academic conventions within which we write up our research or, that other
institutional processes may be at work. For example, as Mauthner and Doucet (2003)
highlight, it is somewhat easier to admit the confusions and ambiguities in one’s own
research practice when one has a secure academic post. Such options therefore may be
risky for new researchers. Finlay (2002) also argues that it may be difficult to publish
or disseminate reflexive research due to the “positivist hegemony” that permeates
many of our research outlets.
Secondly, it may be that it is simply very difficult to write up a reflexive account in a
way that is both interesting and of use to the reader. A number of writers have
highlighted the thin line between interesting insights and self-indulgence in reflexive
accounts. Weick (2002, p. 894) outlines the perils of “narcissm run amok” and Fournier
and Grey (2000) amongst others note the dangers of the emphasis within a research
account being exclusively upon the researcher rather than the manager, or the
organizational member of interest. A key issue here is that reflexivity is conceived as a
process located within, and owned by, an individual researcher. Consequently, as
Lynch (2000, p. 36) argues “What reflexivity does, what it threatens to expose, what it
reveals and who it empowers depends upon who does it and how they go about it”.
Such comments are consistent with Johnson and Duberleys’ (2003) assertion that
any reflexive researcher needs an understanding of their own epistemological
assumptions in relation to reflexivity. Relating this to the current study, the decision to
use a research diary was grounded in the first author’s own epistemological position of
social constructionism, and a commitment to render as transparent as possible the
subjectivities inherent to the researcher and the research process which influence the
interpretations generated. Our suggestion is that this process of reflection is aided by
the use of a diary as it enables the researcher to continuously think about their own
research practices and assumptions, by recording those thoughts in a systematic way.
The research diary in use is outlined in the next section.
3. The research diary in use
The research diary was adopted by the first author whilst she was conducting research
for her PhD. The focus of the PhD was the psychological contract in small businesses
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located in the UK, and involved in-depth qualitative interviews with both employers
and employees from a range of firms. In outlining the diary and its use in the sections
that follow, we will refer to the researcher in the first person.
The decision to use the diary was made on completion of the literature review before
the field research commenced. The salience of reflexivity as an issue emerged from my
readings concerning methodology. Already a committed qualitative researcher, further
reading combined with discussions with my supervisor, (the second author), led to a
recognition of the importance of reflexivity, and its consistency with my
epistemological position of social constructionism within the confines of a realist
ontology. Also noted from familiarity with the literature was that much of the debate
concerning reflexivity had taken place at the philosophical level with the practicalities
of actually doing it receiving little attention. Thus, aware of the need to adopt a
reflexive position, but with little practical advice on how to actually do it, we decided
that one priority was to record my experiences of the research situation in a systematic
way as the research progressed.
The research diary was simply an A5 lined notebook. Each time a firm was visited
and data gathered a new entry was made. This was done as soon as practically
possible following each visit, (usually sat in the car outside the firm visited). Each new
entry commenced on the next new page, starting with the date and brief biographic
details about the firm, (i.e. name of the firm; name of the employer; age of firm; nature
of the business; number of employees). Reflections on the interview experience were
then recorded, which focused both on practical issues as well as how I had experienced
the interview as a social encounter. Typically this included comments on: how well I
felt the interview had gone and what I felt throughout the interview; what the
dominant themes were; what the employer’s management style was like; any
anomalies or contradictions, along with ideas about the methodological and theoretical
implications these may have.
Used in this way, the research diary served a number of functions. The more
practical comments enabled me to explore methodological issues, (such as the
adequacy or efficacy of the interview schedule), as well as supplementing the content of
the interview data where relevant (e.g. by noting general themes or perhaps non-verbal
aspects of the interviewees’ behaviour). Comments relating to how I had experienced
the interview as a social encounter enabled me to record my own observations of
myself as a researcher, (e.g. noting my emotional state, such as feeling angry), leading
to a consideration of what this revealed about my own assumptions, values and beliefs
and how these impacted upon my research. Additionally the diary acted as a useful
organizational aid to help me keep track of the research process as a whole.
Three examples taken from the research diary are now presented in order to
illustrate how the diary was used. The examples chosen illustrate a variety of concerns
which interested me as a researcher, but which were not necessarily concerned with the
stated aims and objectives of the research. The diary thus provided a forum for me to
record these concerns, which may have otherwise been lost, or at least simply not
considered.
For each example, brief contextual details are given before presenting the comments
as recorded in the research diary. The impact of each example is then considered which
is done at two levels: firstly the practical or methodological implications, and secondly,
the impact that using the diary had on enabling me to think about my values as a
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researcher. Additionally, in highlighting the examples we seek to demonstrate that
reflexivity is an ongoing process with the diary enabling reflection long after the
research had concluded. We now address the three examples in turn.
3.1 Example 1
The first example is taken from an early stage in the research process following initial
interviews with three employers, two of whom owned their own dental practice.
Initially, (i.e. before data collection commenced), when thinking about data analysis, we
thought template analysis (King, 1998) would be ideal. Template analysis enables the
identification of common themes across a number of transcripts, enabling comments to
be made about the sample as a whole. However, reflecting back on the first three
interviews brought the desirability of identifying common themes into question. These
concerns were expressed in the diary as follows:
... not sure template analysis is going to be enough in terms of doing justice to the
uniqueness of each case. So, with the two dentists’ whilst on paper they are very similar, (size
of practice, number of employees, age of practice, etc.) they couldn’t be more different in how
they are managed and run – basically, Andrew is very hands-on and enthusiastic and Ian
couldn’t really care less. Whilst the template will pick up common themes it won’t do justice
to the contrasts between them, perhaps creating an illusion of similarity, when in fact they are
very, very different...
This example can be interpreted as having an impact on the two areas outlined above.
With regard to the potential impact upon the research itself, this example raised my
awareness early on in the research process of the need for a supplementary type of
analysis which would adequately reflect the uniqueness of each case. This initiated a
search for a suitable technique and ultimately resulted in the adoption of “matrix
analysis” (Miles and Huberman, 1994), a technique which enables between case
comparisons through the presentation of data in a “grid” formation. The techniques of
data reduction required for matrix analysis also complemented template analysis
nicely. (For a full account see Nadin and Cassell, 2004.) In relation to my values as a
researcher, I had previously assumed that the problems associated with making
generalisations were the province of quantitative methods. However, what this
example illustrated was that there was no room for complacency and simply because a
technique is qualitative does not guarantee that it is sensitive enough to do justice to
the data. Using template analysis alone, there was a danger of presenting an illusion of
homogeneity within the sample, failing to reveal the uniqueness of each case.
Since, writing up the research I have realised how the concerns I had about
methodology at that time have prompted me to further explore debates concerning the
link between theory and method. What this highlighted was the wide variety of
techniques which fall under the very general label of qualitative approaches, and the
danger in assuming that qualitative approaches share common ground regarding
epistemology and ontology. For example, the neo-positivist approach to qualitative
research is founded on imitating quantitative ideals (such as objectivity and
neutrality), for data production, analysis and writing (Alvesson, 2003). This realisation
was especially useful recently in trying to understand critical feedback offered by a
senior colleague, whose idea of good qualitative research was that based upon
neo-positivist ideals. At a theoretical level this has reinforced the view of the
inextricable link between theory and method, and the value of making one’s ontological
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and epistemological assumptions explicit to oneself and one’s audience. Similarly, it
has also highlighted the importance of establishing what is actually meant by the label
“qualitative” when used by other researchers.
3.2 Example 2
The second example and my initial reflections illustrate the influences of my own
history as a researcher with a vested interest in researching the small business
community.
Alan owned a small private car hire firm which he ran from his home. He was a
humble, benevolent employer and looked after his staff well, whilst also constantly
undermining his firm saying “it wasn’t a proper business”. Upon finishing the
interview with Alan, one of his drivers Jeff showed up and Alan suggested I could talk
to him if I wanted to. Jeff was very obliging and gave me a very insightful potted
history of why he works for Alan. My experiences led me to record the following
comments in my diary:
...the stories of those in the small businesses are humbling and we have a lot to learn. Take
Jeff. Jeff played for England cricket team capped 29 times. Knackered his knees. Had fish
and chip shop for 20 years. Packed that in and is now driving for his pal Alan. It gives him a
nice top up to his pension. He enjoys the work. He’s in his late 60’s. He’s not one to sit around
but he’s limited due to his knackered knees so the driving suits him. He enjoys the job. Alan
pays £40 a month into his pension fund for him. As he said, what would he be doing if it
wasn’t for the job? Sitting at home on his own watching telly no thank you ! To him the job
provides meaning and a role, without which life would be very different and can we really
say that this kind of thing doesn’t count?
At the time this example highlighted to me the insights that can be gained by looking
at the wider social context and history of each case or individual. Knowing Jeff’s full
story resulted in a fuller appreciation of what his part time job as a driver meant to him.
This reinforced my own belief in the value of researching small firms which, as Curran
and Blackburn (2001) assert, are typically neglected by mainstream management
research. The jobs provided by such firms are as important to those employees as are
the jobs provided by larger, more “professional” organisations, and we therefore have a
duty as researchers to give voice to such people.
In hindsight it is easy to identify the foundations of arguments concerning the
neglected status of small firms within the management literature as a product of the
research community to which I belonged. Whilst this doesn’t negate the observations
recorded, it acknowledges the influence of one’s own research community and the
established “repertoire of interpretations” (Alvesson and Skoldberg, p. 250)
characterizing it. Having researched small firms for several years and now pursuing
a PhD on small firms, I already had a lot invested in making and supporting the case
for their neglect. Indeed, a key argument underpinning the rationale for the PhD was
that they had thus far been neglected in psychological contract research.
3.3 Example 3
The third example relates to an interview in which I experienced an intense dislike for
the employer being interviewed. I found his treatment of me patronising, and some of
the views he expressed racist and sexist. Following the interview, I recorded the
following comments in my diary:
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Aaaaggghhh!!..... Arrogant pig. Who’d work for him???!!! Sexist bigot. Felt really
uncomfortable ... like a little girl who was being told how it was in the world of the small
business MAN!!! Liked the sound of his own voice. All his staff had been there a long time, all
recruited through word of mouth.
At the time this experience highlighted the need to be aware of how my anger and
dislike of him might impact upon the interpretation of his transcript. This was further
reinforced when transcribing the interview, vividly bringing back the whole
experience, eliciting similar feelings of anger and irritation. Practically this resulted in
extra vigilance from my supervisor when assessing my interpretations of the
transcript. The incident led me to reflect on the power dynamics of the interview
situation and my role within that. This initially led me to question why I did not
challenge his views and the implicit collusion signalled by remaining both silent and
passive. This itself prompted consideration of whether indeed I should have challenged
his views, (did I have a right to do that?), and what I would do if it happened again.
Since, writing up the research, wider reading and further reflection have brought
into question the reflexive observations initially made. Whilst comments regarding my
dislike for the interviewee in question are not disputed, what is questioned is my naı
¨ve
assumption that transparency and objectivity are possible: “this resulted in extra
vigilance from my supervisor” in order to reduce the chance of unfavourably biased
interpretations myself. Such lofty objectives emerge from neo-positivist ideals,
revealing some confusion and, more recently, conflict in my understanding of
reflexivity and the kind of reflexivity I wanted to practice. Revisiting the example now,
different reflexive interpretations are prompted. This is based on a consideration of the
question: what function did the interview serve for the interviewee? For example, it is
possible to regard the whole interview situation as an impression management exercise
for the interviewee. Looked at in this way, the views he expressed, which I experienced
as racist and sexist, could be regarded as extensions of a broader identity (e.g. that of a
fair but firm businessman who has seen enough to know what people are like,
including women). Alternatively, his comments could be regarded as reflecting the
power dynamics of the interview situation in which he arguably occupied a superior
position.
4. Discussion
Doing reflexivity requires the creation of dedicated times, spaces and contexts within
which to be reflexive (Mauthner and Doucet, 2003). Our suggestion is that the use of a
research diary is one way of creating such spaces, especially in contexts where there
are limited opportunities for other forms of reflexive practice, (e.g. discussions with
fellow researchers). Accepting Hertzs’ (1997, p. viii) description of reflexive practice as
“an ongoing conversation about the experience whilst simultaneously living in the
moment” the diary is a useful substitute when there is no-one to have a conversation
with.
The notion of varying “degrees of reflexivity” (Mauthner and Doucet, 2003) prompts
a consideration of the different types or “levels” reflexivity may take. As acknowledged
in the introduction, reflexive accounts can take a variety of different forms and a thin
line exists between interesting insights and self indulgence. Finlay (2002) highlights
the dangers of “infinite regress” of the researcher getting lost in endless narcissistic
emoting where the prime focus is upon themselves as a researcher rather than the
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participants. Whilst this may indeed be a valuable process of self discovery for the
researcher it arguably has little to do with the actual research and those participating
in it. It is useful here to draw on the work of DeVault (1997) who suggests that personal
revelation is only useful if links are made to analyse its relevance in terms of the
broader study. In the current study the first example reveals how the reflections made
in the diary prompted the first author to revisit issues surrounding the links between
epistemology and methodology, initiating the search for supplementary techniques of
analysis. The second example, whilst not being directly mentioned in the thesis,
certainly fuelled theoretical arguments concerning the status of small firms and the
types of employee’s typically studied in management research. In the third example it
was hoped that making explicit the first author’s negative reaction to the interviewee
would somehow limit the potential for biased interpretations of the transcript, with the
transparency offered ultimately resulting in a more “valid” account. Whilst a rather
naı
¨ve assumption, (being as it is based on neo-positivist ideals about validity), it did
prompt further valuable consideration of related epistemological and ontological
issues.
As such, the reflexivity employed impacted both directly upon methodological and
analytical decisions made during the research process as well as influencing the
theoretical conclusions reached concerning the status of small firms. It is hoped that in
demonstrating the practical and analytical relevance of the reflexivity employed in this
study as suggested by DeVault (1997), the dangers of infinite regress and narcissistic
emoting are avoided. In addition, putting reflexivity into practice rather than simply
thinking about being reflexive has had longer term implications, especially for the first
author, in terms of developing her ideas about what constitutes good research and the
type of researcher she wants to be, in the context of the position she seeks to occupy in
the research process.
As noted earlier, one way of encouraging the difficult processes involved in
reflexive research is to create the time, spaces and contexts within which to be
reflexive. Our suggestion is that the research diary helps to create one such “space”.
Another such space has been created by the writing of this paper, prompting the
authors to consider and reconsider the use of the diary and the role it played in the
research process. As such, this paper can be regarded as a narrative about the context
in which the research diary was produced and used, which as Richardson (2000, p. 931)
explains, reminds us that our work is grounded, contextual and rhizomatic. Arguably,
over and above pragmatic concerns about how to do reflexivity, papers such as this
provide the opportunity to acknowledge the emotional and personal presence of the
writer, something which is unacknowledged in more “rational” “scientific” accounts of
the research process (Richardson, 2000).
As Mauthner and Doucet (2003) point out, reflexivity may alter as time, distance
and detachment from the research process increases. All three examples presented
earlier are open to further reflexive interpretations, and some of the interpretations
which have emerged as both detachment from the research process and as the
knowledge of reflexivity issues have increased have been highlighted. An important
point to make here is that reflexivity is an on-going process. It does not just start and
stop with the research project and the use of a research diary. Conversely, whilst the
use of a diary may aid reflexive processes, adopting a research diary does not turn a
non-reflexive researcher into a reflexive one. What is required first and foremost is a
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commitment to reflexivity and a desire to integrate reflexive thinking into the research
process. Whilst there is no shortage of epistemological and philosophical arguments
calling for greater reflexivity, the issue of how to be more reflexive in practice has yet
to be adequately addressed (Alvesson, 2003). Adopting a research diary is one simple
and effective way of building reflexive practice into the research process, creating a
record of one’s reactions to the research situation, which by its sheer physical
existence, affords the issues raised a focus of attention which could otherwise quite
easily get lost.
5. Concluding comments
Although located within the arena of management research, the experience of using a
research diary in this context should be of interest and use to other social science
researchers. As stated at the outset, the use of a research diary was grounded in the
epistemological position of social constructionism and the need for reflexivity in
research. Action does not occur in a social vacuum, therefore we need to take account of
the wider context or social embeddedness of human action in order to gain a full
understanding. This is equally applicable to the research situation as it is to everyday
life. Given that the research situation is itself a social encounter, we thus need to reflect
upon the range of factors which impact upon the interpretations gathered. For the
researcher this means being aware of and explicit about a number of issues including:
our own epistemological position; our thoughts and feelings about how the research is
progressing; exploring how we experienced the research situation as a social encounter
and what influence that had on the interpretations produced. Aiding such transparency
encourages us to question and explore our own beliefs concerning what constitutes
good research. The research diary is one simple and easy to use tool which can
significantly help researchers achieve these aims and become more reflexive.
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Corresponding author
Catherine Cassell can be contacted at: Catherine.Cassell@mbs.ac.uk
Research diaries
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... It clarifies the assumptions, personal responses, and decision making about the research (Braun & Clarke, 2013). It is a valuable tool, prompting insights which informed a variety of methodological and theoretical decisions in relation to the research (Nadin & Cassell, 2006). It can be used to list and outline a strategic plan for the short-term and long-term development of ideas, such as move forward on certain problems, write ideas or questions develop personal views, and analyses throughout the research project (Kalpokaite & Radivojevic, 2019). ...
... It can be used to list and outline a strategic plan for the short-term and long-term development of ideas, such as move forward on certain problems, write ideas or questions develop personal views, and analyses throughout the research project (Kalpokaite & Radivojevic, 2019). For the better result in research; all researchers should use a research diary, regardless of epistemological position (Nadin & Cassell, 2006). ...
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This paper develops memo writing techniques within the framework of grounded theory methodology of qualitative research in social sciences. In grounded theory, memoing is one of the most important processes to develop and enrich theory. Memo is the written record of the researcher’s thinking. It is an analytical strategy that facilitates the researcher to achieve clear concept and truth from the data. It is considered as the tool of all kinds of notes taken by the researchers in grounded theory during their research. But yet there is a limited use of memo writing in other qualitative researches. Memoing increases investigation, inspection and continuity of data during the research analysis. In this study an attempt has been taken to discuss the aspects of memoing along with its benefits.
... These were used to keep daily records of events and experiences from the research in an organised format. It is important that I kept notes during fieldwork because it represents a methodical way of recording and organising the research process to promote reflexivity, supplement data analysis when relevant and can be used as an organisational tool (Nadin and Cassell 2006). In the field notes, as recommended by Altrichter and Holly (2005), I recorded data obtained from the process of data collection, reflections on relevant meetings, appointments and conversations, and plans for subsequent research. ...
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To promote wellbeing amongst older people, there is a need for support through the community, as family support and other forms of support might not be sufficient to meet the demands of a growing population. Several studies have been carried out on family support in Nigeria but little is known about support from community members. Therefore, this research used a qualitative methodology to explore and get an in-depth perspective of how community support is negotiated and experienced by older people in Nigeria. Photo-elicited interviews were conducted amongst seventeen older people aged 65 years and above and semi-structured interview was conducted amongst six community and religious leaders in the community. Data was analysed using thematic analysis. Four themes emerged from the study which include “What we have become” “I am old but a human” “Social norms” “Spirituality”. The findings show that the condition (health, social and physical) of older people, societal and religious obligation influences the way they experience and negotiate for support. Spiritual support was a type of support, which was more valued by older people. This is because it is linked to other types of support and the major support provided by the stakeholders. Importantly, the characteristics and structure of social networks such as proximity, reachability and homogeneity affect older people's choice of support network members. The implication to practice is that it highlights the significance of spiritual support and the importance of the church in providing this support to older people including those who are not part of their religious community. In addition, to highlight the importance of the influence of societal norms in the negotiation of support even in a changing world.
... Jasper and Rosser (2013) refer to a reflective process as a learning experience where evaluation on the acquired knowledge takes places while fine tuning procedures for future use. Outlining the advantages of reflexivity, Nadin and Cassell (2006) state that the researchers' awareness of their impact on the study may lead to increased trustworthiness of the data and integrity of the research process. These two practices, mindfulness and reflection, may arguably augment the learning experience emerging from online data collection. ...
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Reflections emerging from what was learned from conducting online research by using an online survey administered to primary school pupils during the Covid-19 pandemic are presented in this paper. First, a brief review of relevant literature is outlined. Secondly, the advantages and limitations of conducting online research are addressed. An overview of the research process employed including the sample, measures used and procedures employed for ethics clearance are how online research was made possible during a pandemic was explored. The main challenges were: (a) parental engagement and the subsequent collection of consent forms; (b) the actual data acquisition itself. These issues and others are explored through a reflection process using the cycle outlined by Gibbs (1988). The paper also points out how the reflective process was applied throughout the project. The study is focused on how pupils aged between 9 – 11 years perceived their own creative self-concept and their wellbeing at school. In this quantitative study, five hundred and thirty pupils were recruited through their schools following the dissemination of information letters and consent forms. While various advantages emerged from conducting online research, this approach was not without problems. Finally, this study presented an opportunity for learning and growth for the author through a process of reflection and evaluation.
... Because poststructuralist analysis does not seek objective truths about the materials (Foucault & Colin, 1980), self-reflexivity formed an important part of the analytical procedure (Gill, 1995). To ensure a high level of self-reflexivity, I kept a research diary in which I noted my initial thoughts about the texts and regularly checked that-where possible-my analysis included counterarguments to my own responses (see Nadin & Cassell, 2006). That said, my own position as a White, able-bodied, menstruating cisfemale social science scholar in my 30s contributes to how I approached the texts. ...
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Earlier research has shown that menstruation has often been constructed as a nuisance or a pathology in popular and medical texts. Drawing on poststructuralist discourse analysis of 10 contemporary self-help books on menstruation, 4 of which were chosen for further analysis, this article shows how approaches to menstruation in recent self-help texts diverge from these conceptions. Instead of portraying menstruation as something problematic, self-help texts represent the menstruating body as natural, manageable, and potentially empowering. However, by depicting relentless self-monitoring and self-care as routes to mandatory health and well-being, menstrual self-help texts also construct new norms of menstruating that contribute to individualized responsibility.
... Weick (1999) labelled this risk as a form of narcissism (p. 894) and pointed to the limitations of personal reflexivity as it can create a 'thin line between interesting insights and self-indulgence in reflexive accounts' (Nadin and Cassell 2006). Therefore, in their reflexive practices, we encourage researchers not to lose sight of the participants' voices. ...
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Qualitative research relies on nuanced judgements that require researcher reflexivity, yet reflexivity is often addressed superficially or overlooked completely during the research process. In this AMEE Guide, we define reflexivity as a set of continuous, collaborative, and multifaceted practices through which researchers self-consciously critique, appraise, and evaluate how their subjectivity and context influence the research processes. We frame reflexivity as a way to embrace and value researchers' subjectivity. We also describe the purposes that reflexivity can have depending on different paradigmatic choices. We then address how researchers can account for the significance of the intertwined personal, interpersonal, methodological, and contextual factors that bring research into being and offer specific strategies for communicating reflexivity in research dissemination. With the growth of qualitative research in health professions education, it is essential that qualitative researchers carefully consider their paradigmatic stance and use reflexive practices to align their decisions at all stages of their research. We hope this Guide will illuminate such a path, demonstrating how reflexivity can be used to develop and communicate rigorous qualitative research.
... The lead researcher will be keeping a reflective diary during the process. 79 The chosen paradigm stresses the importance of the population's inclusion at every level and the expert panel's role in study design and interview questions help at multiple stages to ensure rigour. ...
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