'Positionality' and the researcher in qualitative research

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While the politics of the value of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies focuses on validity, generalizability and reliability, this paper presents a discussion on the ‘positionality’ of the researcher in qualitative research. It reports on the ideas explored at a one day qualitative research day conference at EWHA, Women’s University, Seoul, South Korea on 15th July 2015. Qualitative research methodologies in health research are outlined and located within both contemporary policy and theoretical arenas. The main assertion of this paper is that qualitative research involving human interaction between researchers and participants is always a co-constructed activity. The ‘positionality’ of the researcher is located as always ‘inside’ the research study. The objectivity of a positivist approach to qualitative research is challenged and, using examples from two primary research studies, the ‘space between’ the researcher and research participant is explored when socio-cultural space is both narrow and conversely, when it is very wide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
JournalJournal of Qualitative Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • qualitative research
  • positionality
  • participatory peer review
  • theory
  • Grounded Theory


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