A Difference that Makes a Difference? Reflexivity and Researcher Effects in an All-Foreign Prison
International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16 (1), 1-10.
10 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 13, 2017
Today, researchers are expected to spend considerable energy describing and discussing their own social positions and personas in the field for at least two reasons: First, researchers always observe the field from a specific point of view. Their perspective is structured by their own social position and biography and is thus unique. Second, the people in the field react differently to the presence of different researchers. The field persona of the researcher is expected to impact the data she or he is able to produce. For these reasons, critically discussing one’s own field experiences is seen as an important part of the qualitative research process. This article will discuss the second part of this argument. Based on the experiences of two different researchers in the same field site, we ask whether it is true that different researchers necessarily produce different data. We conclude that in this case, at least, the differences between the two researchers did not seem to make much of a difference.
Keywords: reflexivity, researcher field persona, researcher effects, self-positioning, prison ethnography
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation