"Outing" the researcher: the provenance, process, and practice of reflexivity

Qual Health Res. 2002 Apr;12(4):531-45. doi: 10.1177/104973202129120052.


To increase the integrity and trustworthiness of qualitative research, researchers need to evaluate how intersubjective elements influence data collection and analysis. Reflexivity--where researchers engage in explicit, self-aware analysis of their own role--offers one tool for such evaluation. The process of engaging in reflexive analysis, however, is difficult, and its subjective, ambiguous nature is contested. In the face of challenges, researchers might retreat from engaging in the process. In this article, the author seeks to "out" the researcher's presence by exploring the theory and practice of reflexivity. Examples from research illustrate its problematic potential.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Health Services Research*
  • Professional Role
  • Research Design
  • Research Personnel / psychology*