Research encounters, reflexivity and supervision

Elliott, Heather; Ryan, Joanna and Hollway, Wendy (2012). Research encounters, reflexivity and supervision. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 15(5) pp. 433–333.



Reflexivity in qualitative and ethnographic social science research can provide a rich source of data, especially regarding the affective, performative and relational aspects of interviews with research subjects. This paper explores by means of three case examples different ways of accessing and using such reflexivity. The examples are drawn from an empirical psycho-social study into the identity tran- sitions of first-time mothers in an inner-city multicultural environment. Fieldnotes and supervision were used to engage with researcher subjectivity, to enhance the productive use of reflexivity and to address the emotional work of research. The methodology of the supervision was psychoanalytic, in its use of a boundaried frame and of psychoanalytic forms of noticing oneself, of staying engaged emo- tionally as well as creating a reflective distance. The examples illustrate how this can enhance the knowledge gained about the research subjects.

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