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Reflexivity and Researcher Positionality

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sandra Corlett, Professor Sharon MavinORCiD



This chapter explores reflexivity as a set of mutually interrelated processes and practices involving the reflexive thinking, doing, and evaluating of qualitative research. The chapter provides insights into debates surrounding the theory and practice of reflexivity and argues these are underpinned by the researcher’s epistemological assumptions. Such epistemological assumptions influence the researcher’s positionality on issues relating to representation and truth, to the researcher’s role and power relations with others, and to criteria for evaluating qualitative research. Along with other chapters in Section Three: The Researcher, the chapter embraces the reflexive researcher as an integral aspect of qualitative research and highlights challenges involved in reflexive research practice. We also present practical guidance for critical self-reflexivity, practised as an individual and/or collective endeavour, through a series of thought-provoking questions and examples from our own and others’ research in qualitative business and management research. Through the chapter we encourage readers to see the value of reflexivity in its ability to bring epistemological, methodological and criteriological challenges to the forefront as a means of acknowledging how, through our researcher positionality and as qualitative researchers, we influence the research we do and shape the knowledge we produce.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Corlett S, Mavin S

Editor(s): Cassell C; Cunliffe A; Grandy G;

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods

Year: 2018

Volume: 1

Pages: 377-389

Print publication date: 02/01/2018

Acceptance date: 26/10/2017

Number of Volumes: 2

Publisher: Sage

Place Published: London

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781526429278