Take Home Messages

Reflexivity is a process of identifying and critically analysing the role of your position, or identity, in shaping the research you produce. Doing so enables us to ‘situate’ our knowledge. Most geographers, from post-positivist quantitative scholars to feminist or post-structural qualitative researchers appreciate that who we are shapes what we do. To ensure we are reflexive we must:

  • Take reflexivity seriously! It isn’t enough to include a throw-away sentence acknowledging your role in producing your research. We must think carefully about how our work has been shaped.
  • Critically consider our position. It might be that your gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality or another key facet of identity has shaped what you have done. It could be a number of these in combination. Or it could be another, less obvious facet of ourselves. For example, the values we hold (Read Graduate Guidance 5).
  • Critically assess our methods. How have the tools we have designed for our research shaped the data we have collected? How have the questions we have asked influenced the responses we have gathered?

Keeping a research diary helps us to reflect upon moments where our research might have been shaped by conditions such as who we are, the methods we used, the place we conducted our research.