An open letter to the Universe: A reflection on conducting "good" research

Ruel, Stefanie (2019). An open letter to the Universe: A reflection on conducting "good" research. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 14(1) pp. 55–74.



Purpose - The goal of this letter to the Universe was to reveal a qualitative researcher’s journey into finding her sense of self during a trial she faced while conducting her dissertation research.
Methodology - Indigenous research methodologies (IRM) mixed with an autoethnography were used. A critical reflexivity position, with respect to being in the field, was adopted, melding in the Universe, the Sun, and the Earth as objects that the author can talk and interact with. This reflexivity was captured within the letter to the Universe.
Findings - Three outcomes are discussed. Notably, the implications of this work with respect to power-relations and gender. The issue of being in the field is then discussed. Finally, untangling the practical implications of using IRM/autoethnography as a combined method is presented.
Social/Practical Implications - The letter to the Universe offers a guide of sorts to other qualitative researchers, via one person’s experience in the field. The letter is, in the end, a cautionary story for others, acknowledging that we can respond to a trial in a gendered fashion, that one needs to be humble along with being persistent, flexible and resourceful towards achieving “good” research.
Originality/Value - As a Western, White woman scholar, who circles Indigenous influences, this letter demonstrated one possible way of embracing, and acknowledging, IRM without appropriating it.

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