Sunday, January 16, 2011: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM
Meeting Room 12 (Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Speakers/Presenters: Marie L. McCormick, PhD, Assistant Professor, City University of New York, Bronx, NY, Lorraine R. Tempel, PhD, LCSW, Assistant Professor, Hunter College, New York, NY and Barbara Probst, PhD, Adjunct professor, Fordham University, New York, NY
Reflexivity is a multidimensional construct used in social work practice, theory and research. In qualitative research reflexivity is essential as context and task; establishing the project as both ethical and accountable. In this Round Table reflexivity is approached from three perspectives. Each perspective positions the self of the researcher as critical. A reflexive stance in conducting qualitative research implies the researcher's willingness and capacity to bring her ‘self' to the tasks of the research project at each juncture from conceptualization to conclusion. In practice this means a rigorous and unflinching engagement of the ‘self' at multiple levels—cognitive, emotional, spiritual, and physical. Part One of this Round Table begins with three brief presentations. The first presentation represents one approach to reflexivity. It begins by defining the epistemological roots and key concepts of reflexivity--positioning, transparency, and the ‘good enough researcher'—and concludes with a method for conducting reflexive research suggesting questions appropriate to each stage of the research from selection of participants, to data collection, to presentation of findings. The second presentation approaches reflexivity through describing the lived experience of the researcher in a phenomenological research project that asked older women to reflect on their body/self(s) through the lens of food and eating. It focuses on the researcher's reflexive process in the data analysis stage of a research project; articulating the intra/interpersonal reciprocity--diagrammed as Self < -- > Other < -- > Self-- that is central to discovering themes and recognizing meanings. It describes and defines what the researcher discovered through dwelling with the data--the ‘only-ness' of each participant—that allowed the data analysis to proceed to fulfillment. The third presentation, based on original research that used narrative analysis to illuminate the relationship between social work practitioners in child welfare and the parents affected by that system, demonstrates the power of reflexivity to deepen and authenticate the research process and illustrates the barriers to the process that result from insufficient attention to reflexivity. This presenter discusses the use of journaling to understand her own responses to the research process and to realize the complexities of eliciting the ‘truer voices' of participants. Following these presentations, participants will be invited to engage in a reflexive process as they discuss their thoughts on and experiences with maintaining a reflexive stance in conducting the qualitative project. The intent of this Round Table is to provide an opportunity for participants at different stages of development as qualitative researchers to consider together the cognitive, emotional and practical requirements of reflexivity in qualitative research.
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