Subjectivity and Reflexivity: Locating the Self in Research on Dislocation

Jul. 15, 2010

Source: International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Volume 23, Issue 4
(July 2010), pages 479 – 494.
In this article, the author argues that recognizing the role of subjectivity and bringing in the researcher's positionality as a tool in the research process can not only enhance the ethical integrity of the research but also enhance both the research process and the analysis and interpretation of the data.

Cultural studies theorists have long argued that choices made about what to study and what studies to fund are culturally and socially bound decisions that reflect power and values within the society.
Starting from this theoretical framework, the author explores the relational dynamics of a qualitative research study in which the author worked with 15 Bosnian adolescent female refugees and 10 Bosnian refugee community members living in New York City. The author's purpose is to explore their understandings of identity after conflict, flight, and relocation.

In the process, the author learned much about herself and used reflexivity to think about how her own identity interacted with the identities of her participants, discovering along the way how this 'messiness' was improving the research process and quality.

Updated: Feb. 28, 2011