For many qualitative researchers, qualitative research starts with epistemology. And a very important part in epistemology is thinking about subjectivity. How subjective is this research? How subjective am I as a researcher? And it's often contrasted to more objective, or realist, forms of research. And good practice, in order to do more or less subjective research, is reflexivity. And reflexivity is not just sitting and ponder, it's sitting and ponder about research. Probably about the reality out there and how you as a researcher co-constructs this reality, as something realist would say. Well I've sealed this thing which is three types of reflexivity. Personal, about yourself, methodological, about your method, and third, theoretical, about your theory. So let's start with the first one, this personal reflexivity. Reflexivity as a confession, but then a personal confession. I use this word, confession, because the work of Van Maanen who wrote about the difference between confessional tales and realist tales. In realist tales, people present the world out there as objective. Researchers present the world out there as objective. In the confessional tale, researchers present the world out there as probably co-constructed or constructed. And they write about themselves as researchers getting into the field, dealing with hardships, dealing with difficult situations, but also very positive and easy situations, but how they as researchers informed their research. And Van Maanen says that people use these confessions, these reflections about themselves, in order to follow different purposes. The first purpose, many people would claim they do, is they downgrade authority. So many people would say, I came into this field with this and this background, and that influenced my research in such a way. I'm a young man, very pretty and so on, and therefore I influence my field in such a way. And Van Manen shows that people do this, downgrading authority, or at least they say they do this, but in effect they are claiming authority rather than downgrading authority. Look how I did my field work. It was the only possible way to do this field work and due to my heroship, my heroism, I came to these results. So that's about reflection as something personal, a personal confession. The second form of reflexivity is reflexivity on your methods, on your methodology. So not on you as a person, but on how you used your methods. And there are different reasons why you do this. The first reason is you do this is in order to remind yourself about your working hypothesis, or you remind yourself about the procedures you've taken and the interpretations you've written. You use it as some sort of field notes, methodological field notes, memos as they're often called. So what brilliant abduction did you do? What brilliant interpretations did you do? And you note those in order to go back to them later. The second reason why people use these reflexivity reflections on methods is for the reason Coffey and Atkinson draw out. And they say, well reflections, they're documentation is part of the transformation of data from personal experiences and intuition to public and accountable knowledge. So what they mean is that from these intuitions and gut feelings, you transform these gut feelings into accountable data by showing what procedures you've taken. What steps you've taken. And it's not window dressing, per se, it can be, but it is the way, how we deal with knowledge. We have some gut feelings, we have some ideas, we test them, but we write it down properly in order to make it accountable and public. The third reason why we use this methodological reflexivity is to create something like an audit trail. And an audit trail, as it was suggested by Halpern and later made big by Govan Linkle, this audit trail deals with transparency. You have to be as a researcher as transparent as possible, Halpern says, and you have to make your data and your theories and your methods auditable. Which means you have to write down what steps you took, what procedures you took, why you made certain choices. Why you did interviews with these people and not with others, why you observed that social situation and not another social situation. So, about the choices you've made. When selecting people, when analyzing, when reviewing your material, when testing your hypothesis if you do that, and so on and so forth. In order to create a possibility for others to check your work. The third way you can use reflexivity is again as a confession, but then a theoretical confession. And this is a hard form of reflection because what you do when you do this about theory, you display your theoretical orientation. You share what assumptions you'll have, what your prejudice is, what biases you'll have, and so on and so forth. But some people would say this is pretty impossible. Why? Well since these are biases, you probably don't know that you have those biases, as Clive Seale put it. So therefore, people say it's more ambitious than a methodological or a personal reflexivity because, well, you're talking about your blind spots. And since they're blind spots, you cannot see them.