For some reason I have been quite keen to get to work on this chapter and was thinking about it a lot in December and over the holidays. This is only strange because, up to this point I have been pretty fearful when it comes to methodology/method. I think the methods section in my MA thesis was pretty skimpy and I have just never really thought of myself as a ‘methods gal’. To get me started I have given myself the mini-goal of completing a draft of the epistemology section of this chapter by the end of this week. I’m shooting for about eight pages (which can be edited and developed later). On Friday, when R was at school and Z was napping, I started mapping out what I had been ruminating on over the hols. I think I have a rough structure and right now I am developing some of the concepts.
One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot is reflexivity. It’s a term that’s bounced around a lot in feminist scholarship, and I have been guilty of using it pretty lightly myself. Today I started thinking about what it actually means to be reflexive as a researcher. I started reading Reflexive Methodology: New Vistas for Qualitative Research by Mats Alvesson and Kaj Skoldberg and, so far, it’s brilliant. Here is my quote of the day:
“this concept means that serious attention is paid to the way different kinds of linguistic, social, political and theoretical elements are woven together in the process of knowledge development, during which empirical material is constructed, interpreted, and written. Empirical research in a reflective mode starts from a sceptical approach to what appear at a superficial glance as unproblematic replicas of the way reality functions, while at the same time maintaining the belief that the study of suitable (well thought out) excerpts from this reality can provide an important basis for a generation of knowledge that opens up rather than closes and furnishes opportunities for understanding rather than establishes ‘truths’” (Alvesson & Skoldberg 2009, p. 9).