The Researcher's Place in Qualitative Inquiries: Un-fulfilled Promises?

Esther Wiesenfeld

Abstract


Recent research approaches in psychology, such as emancipatory, cooperative, constructionist, participatory-action-research, and critical ethnographic research, coincide in proposing a relationship between the researcher and his/her informants characterized by symmetry, dialog, cooperation, and mutual respect, as well as the co-involvement of both participants' subjectivity throughout the research process. Though this way of conceiving their relationship suggests an epistemology which diverges from the one that has oriented traditional research, we wonder how far this new mode of relating is being carried into practice, how much it is being understood, and how it is being implemented. In this paper, and based on a review of theoretical works, empirical reports on qualitative research, and my own research experience, I try to contribute some information on the different meanings and forms these proposals are taking in practice, as well as the different procedures that are being applied to fulfill them. The diversity so encountered leads to a questioning of the interaction between research practice and the epistemology implicit in the approaches in question, and hence, to a call for a review of either the assumptions on which the researcher-informant relationship is based or the way they are being put into practice.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0002303

Keywords


qualitative research; researcher's place; critics; participants' co-involvement; researcher's subjectivity



Copyright (c) 2000 Esther Wiesenfeld

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