Emotional Reflexivity and the Guiding Principle of Objectivity in an Inter-Disciplinary, MultiMethod, Longitudinal Research Project

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This paper demonstrates how emotional reflexivity can help researchers aspire to the benchmark of objectivity. It will be argued that emotional exchanges during interviews with research participants can enhance understanding based on the author's research experiences in an inter-disciplinary, multi-method, longitudinal study of low-energy, social housing in Aberdeen, Scotland. It will then be demonstrated that emotional reflexivity allowed the researcher to identify how his feelings of empathy with the household occupants, who had had a negative experience, developed and how he began to share their frustrations and disappointments with the Council. This allowed him to locate himself within the research field, and help him understand how this influenced his representation of this group. This consequently allowed him to moderate his focus on the negative experiences of some occupants and produce a more comprehensive account of the full range of the householders' perspectives. In conclusion, it will be argued that emotional reflexivity can help researchers maintain the guiding principle of objectivity whilst locating the researcher within the field and therefore can provide an effective means of negotiating the pitfalls of the reflexive turn.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2017



  • Emotional Reflexivity
  • Emotions
  • Field Position
  • Guiding Principle of Objectivity
  • Reflexive Turn

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