Reflexivity and beyond – a plea for imagination in qualitative research methodology

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that, important as reflexivity is, it does not constitute the gold standard of qualitative research. Instead the author makes a plea for the use of sociological imagination. Design/methodology/approach – The paper makes use of data from the ISI Web of Science database to demonstrate the increasing popularity of the concept of reflexivity. Findings – All researchers exercise reflexivity in as much as carrying out research alters both the subject and the object of the research. Conscious reflexivity enables researchers to question their assumptions and consequences of their work but does not guarantee high quality research. For this, creative imagination in recognizing the creative possibilities afforded by the data, are essential. Originality/value – Arguing against the emerging orthodoxy of qualitative research methodology, the original proposal of this paper lies in its plea to relax methodological strictures and judge the quality of research pragmatically in terms of its scientific value and social usefulness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-336
Number of pages5
JournalQualitative Research in Organizations and Management : An International Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2015


  • Interpretation
  • Reflexivity
  • Research affordances
  • Sociological imagination
  • Standard qualitative doctoral thesis
  • Transcription


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