Reflexivity and bracketing in sociological phenomenological research

researching the competitive swimming lifeworld

Gareth McNarry, Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson, Adam B Evans

pp. 38-51

In this article, following on from earlier debates in the journal regarding the ‘thorny issue’ of epochē and bracketing in sociological phenomenological research, we consider more generally the challenges of engaging in reflexivity and bracketing when undertaking ethnographic ‘insider’ research, or research in familiar settings. We ground our discussion and illustrate some of the key challenges by drawing on the experience of undertaking this research approach with a group of competitive swimmers, who were participating in a British university performance swimming programme at the time of the doctoral study. The primary researcher was highly familiar with the phenomenon of competitive swimming, having been both a competitive swimmer and swimming coach. Some of the key elements of a sociological phenomenological approach to studying physical-cultural embodiment are first delineated, before addressing the considerable challenges of engaging in sustained reflexivity and bracketing, using the swimming research for illustrative purposes. We suggest some practical ways in which researchers in sport and physical cultures might approach epochē and bracketing in ethnographic ‘insider’ research.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1080/2159676X.2018.1506498

Full citation:

McNarry, G. , Allen-Collinson, J. , Evans, A.B. (2019). Reflexivity and bracketing in sociological phenomenological research: researching the competitive swimming lifeworld. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise & Health 11 (1), pp. 38-51.

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