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Problem of Practice Resources, EdD-LOC Program

Researcher Positionality

Researcher positionality generally refers to what researchers know and believe about the world around them and is shaped by their experiences in social and political contexts. A researcher’s positionality shapes their interpretations, understandings, and beliefs about their own research, but also about other’s research. Positionality, therefore, is achieved through the disclosure of one’s background and experiences, but also through reflexivity in which the researcher understands how this plays a role in the research design and process (Tufford & Newman, 2012; Relles, 2016). “A researcher's background and position will affect what they choose to investigate, the angle of investigation, the methods judged most adequate for this purpose, the findings considered most appropriate, and the framing and communication of conclusions" (Malterud, 2001, p. 483-484). An important component of researcher positionality involves carefully identifying and articulating the nature of the relationship between the researcher and the research phenomenon, site, and participants.

Questions to consider in developing your own researcher perspective/positionality statement.

  1. How do you understand the research process and knowledge? (paradigm)
  2. Who are you, and what is your relationship to the research?
  3. What are your beliefs about this topic?
  4. Why are you personally interested in this study?
  5. Any history or personal interaction with this topic?
  6. What is your connection to your participants or site? Do you share any commonalities, identities, or experiences with your participants?
  7. What are your hopes for this study?
  8. How does your perspective and worldview inform your theoretical/conceptual framework?
  9. Is there anything else that is important for the reader to know about you?

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