Research as Interacting Dialogic Processes: Implications for Reflexivity
Research within a postmodern frame moves us into arenas where subjectivity is both assumed and appreciated. This framework provides an opportunity to attend to how subjectivity (of researcher[s] and of research participants) and inter-subjectivity (between/among researcher[s] and between researcher[s] and participants) can enhance the research process. In this paper, we explore a framework that involves one such model: an understanding of qualitative research as an interconnected and mutually influential series of dialogic processes. A dialogic framework allows us to view each major aspect of a research program as having, as an important hope, the creation of synergistic communication between or among participants. Because this approach relies on ideas about dialogic communication, it carries an intrinsic investment in the reflexivity of every conversant—i.e., every researcher and every participant. It emphasizes the reflexive value of conducting research in the context of a team of researchers, and it examines the role of reflexivity at each step of the research endeavor: formulating the question, gathering information, analyzing this information, collaborating with other researchers, and "returning" the fruits of the research to participants. The paper discusses the centrality of reflexivity at each of these steps, both in descriptive terms and through illustrations drawn from our own research as well as from the experiences of other researchers.
reflexivity, dialog, team research, political implications