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Reflexivity in quantitative research: A rationale and beginner's guide

Jamieson, Michelle K.; Govaart, Gisela Hanna; Pownall, Madeleine


Gisela Hanna Govaart

Madeleine Pownall


Reflexivity is the act of examining one's own assumption, belief, and judgement systems, and thinking carefully and critically about how these influence the research process. The practice of reflexivity confronts and questions who we are as researchers and how this guides our work. It is central in debates on objectivity, subjectivity, and the very foundations of social science research and generated knowledge. Incorporating reflexivity in the research process is traditionally recognized as one of the most notable differences between qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Qualitative research centres and celebrates the participants' personal and unique lived experience. Therefore, qualitative researchers are readily encouraged to consider how their own unique positionalities inform the research process and this forms an important part of training within this paradigm. Quantitative methodologies in social and personality psychology, and more generally, on the other hand, have remained seemingly detached from this level of reflexivity and general reflective practice. In this commentary, we, three quantitative researchers who have grappled with the compatibility of reflexivity within our own research, argue that reflexivity has much to offer quantitative methodologists. The act of reflexivity prompts researchers to acknowledge and centre their own positionalities, encourages a more thoughtful engagement with every step of the research process, and thus, as we argue, contributes to the ongoing reappraisal of openness and transparency in psychology. In this paper, we make the case for integrating reflexivity across all research approaches, before providing a ‘beginner's guide’ for quantitative researchers wishing to engage reflexively with their own work, providing concrete recommendations, worked examples, and reflexive prompts.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 13, 2023
Online Publication Date Feb 2, 2023
Publication Date 2023-04
Deposit Date Feb 24, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 24, 2023
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 4
Article Number e12735
Keywords methodology, open science, positionality, quantitative research, reflexivity


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