Reflexivity in a longitudinal narrative inquiry: in pursuit of clarity of interpretations

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 2021, 44, (2), pp. 125-134
Issue Date:
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© 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The need for researcher reflexivity in qualitative research, especially where data are gathered through interview, is well documented. Studies employing a range of theoretical frameworks and methodologies are similarly affected, with researchers needing to consider specific contextual factors related to the design nuances of each project. This paper focuses on the need for reflexivity, including ethical concerns, in a longitudinal study using narrative inquiry and a Bourdieuian framework. The study included multiple interviews with thirteen students from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds over a four-year period to examine their experiences of studying at a regional Australian university. Issues around interviewer/interviewee relationships are outlined, along with possible mis/re/interpretations of data. Results demonstrate the critical nature of skilled and ethical interviewing techniques, emphasizing the importance of designing questions which do not pre-empt findings or skew results. Overall, the benefits for both researchers and interviewees of longitudinal studies allowing substantial time lapses facilitating reflexivity between interviews are made evident.
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