Reflexivity requires an awareness of the researcher’s contribution to the construction of meanings throughout the research process, and an acknowledgment of the impossibility of remaining “outside of” one’s subject matter while conducting research. Reflexivity then urges us to explore the ways in which a researcher’s involvement with a particular study influences, acts upon and informs such research.


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There are two types of reflexivity: personal reflexivity and epistemological reflexivity. “Personal reflexivity” involves reflecting upon the ways in which our own values, experiences, interests, beliefs, political commitments, wider aims in life, and social identities have shaped the research. It also involves thinking about how the research may have affected and possibly changed us, as people and as researchers. “Epistemological reflexivity” requires us to engage with questions such as: How has the research question defined and limited what can be “found?” How has the design of the study and the method of analysis “constructed” the data and the findings? How could the research question have been investigated differently? To what extent would this have given rise to a different understanding of the phenomenon under investigation? Thus, epistemological reflexivity encourages us to reflect upon the assumptions (about the world, about knowledge) that we have made in the course of the research, and it helps us to think about the implications of such assumptions for the research and its findings.