Clarifying researchers’ subjectivity in qualitative addiction research

  • Michael Egerer Centre for Research on Addiction, Control, and Governance CEACG, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Matilda Hellman Centre for Research on Addiction, Control, and Governance CEACG, University of Helsinki, Finland
Keywords: addiction, social workers, qualitative methods, focus groups, subjectivity

Abstract

Aims: In addiction research, non-constructionist traditions often question the validity and reliability of qualitative efforts. This study presents techniques that are helpful for qualitative researchers in dissecting and clarifying their subjective interpretations.
Methods: We discuss three courses of action for inspecting researchers’ interpretations when analyzing focus-group interviews: (i) adapted summative content analysis, (ii) quantification of researchers’ expectations; and (iii) speaker positions. While these are well-known methodological techniques in their own rights, we demonstrate how they can be used to complement one another.
Results: Quantifications are easy and expeditious verification techniques, but they demand additional investigation of speaker positions. A combination of these techniques can strengthen validity and reliability without compromising the nature of constructionist and inductive inquiries.
Conclusions: The three techniques offer valuable support for the communication of qualitative work in addiction research. They allow researchers to assess and understand their own initial impressions during data collection and raw analysis. In addition, they also serve in making researchers’ subjectivity more transparent. All of this can be achieved without abandoning subjectivity, but rather making sense of it.

Published
2020-09-28
How to Cite
Egerer, M., & Hellman, M. (2020). Clarifying researchers’ subjectivity in qualitative addiction research. The International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research. https://doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.261
Section
Article