Embodied Reflexivity in Qualitative Analysis: A Role for Selfies


  • Martina Kelly University of Calgary
  • Joy de Vries-Erich University of Amsterdam
  • Esther Helmich University of Amsterdam
  • Tim Dornan Queen’s University Belfast
  • Nigel King University of Huddersfield




embodiment, qualitative analysis, team reflexivity, selfies


This article introduces a case study on the use of selfies as a means to support embodied reflexivity in phenomenological research. There is a recognized need to make reflexive practice in qualitative health research more transparent. There is also a move towards an embodied type of reflexivity whereby researchers pay attention to their physical reactions as part of the research process. Being reflexive is especially challenging when researchers work in teams rather than as individuals, and when researchers and participants do not meet because data collection and analysis are separate from one another. We used FINLAY's (2005) model of reflexive embodied empathy to explain how taking selfies allowed an international team of researchers to engage reflexively with a participant when their primary access to her lifeworld was an interview transcript. Key concepts from FOUCAULT's (1988) theory of technologies of self, critical self-awareness and self-stylization, shed light on this phenomenon.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1702124


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Author Biographies

Martina Kelly, University of Calgary

Martina KELLY is a family doctor, and director of undergraduate family medicine, University of Calgary. Her research interests are medical education and the role of the physician's body in clinical practice and healthcare education.

Joy de Vries-Erich, University of Amsterdam

Joy de VRIES-ERICH is a nurse and educational scientist working at the medical faculty of the University of Amsterdam. Her research interests are (interprofessional) medical education and professional identity development in medical undergraduates.

Esther Helmich, University of Amsterdam

Esther HELMICH is a physician and education researcher, whose work centers on professional identity development. She uses phenomenology, grounded theory methodology, and discourse analysis as her main methodogies.

Tim Dornan, Queen’s University Belfast

Tim DORNAN is a physician and education researcher, whose work centers on clinical workplace learning. He uses and teaches a range of qualitative methodologies for primary and secondary research.

Nigel King, University of Huddersfield

Nigel KING is a health psychologist and director of the Centre of Applied Psychological Research, University of Huddersfield. He has diffuse research interests and has written texts on qualitative interviewing and template analysis.




How to Cite

Kelly, M., de Vries-Erich, J., Helmich, E., Dornan, T., & King, N. (2017). Embodied Reflexivity in Qualitative Analysis: A Role for Selfies. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 18(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-18.2.2701



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