Complexities and challenges in reflexive research practices: using narrative inquiry and reflexive thematic analysis in research with working-class participants in higher education

Status: This talk is in preparation - details may change
Status: This talk has been cancelled

There is an ongoing challenge in creating qualitative research approaches to establish rapport with participants, generate research data which is complex, comprehensive and interesting and maintain robust ethical practise. Enabling reflexive practise in qualitative research can help to address some of these challenges, through an additional layer of depth and analysis. Where personal lived experience of the researcher aligns closely with the personal lived experiences of participants, a degree of security and trust can be established which may help to encourage open responses.
In this session, I will present some of the methodological and ethical questions which arose from my doctoral thesis project, ‘Doing the heavy lifting: the experiences of working-class professional service and administrative staff in Russell Group universities’. This project was a small-scale interpretivist piece of research involving thirteen participants who self-identified as having working-class heritage. The research used a combination of a narrative inquiry approach, alongside semi-structured interview techniques in data collection and reflexive thematic analysis in determining key themes (Braun & Clarke, 2006;2021). The primary research questions sought to understand what constituted a working-class identity for participants in this project and how professional services staff experienced their working lives. As such, deep biographical reflections helped to add context and clarity. This presentation will also further explore the complexities and challenges of conducting research when it is closely aligned to personal experience.