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The emergence and evolution of researcher identities: Experiences, encounters, learning and dialectics

Vedran Omanović (Department of Business Administration, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management

ISSN: 1746-5648

Article publication date: 1 August 2018

Issue publication date: 23 May 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate and reflect on mutual relationships between the researcher’s life experiences, encounters and personal learning, and how they can influence the research process of designing and writing research publications as well as their dialectical influences on the emergence and evolution of researcher identities in these processes.

Design/methodology/approach

This research is inspired by auto-ethnography. While the descriptions and analyses of the selected moments from the pre-research period are based on retrospective reflection and memory, the descriptions and analyses of the moments from the research period are in addition to the memories, based on notes and diary entries about my encounters with various people, documents, events and literature.

Findings

The paper shows that researchers’ attempts to understand the Other through studies of certain phenomena are a production between them and their past, their experiences and people encountered, as well as between them and the research literature they use. In these encounters and processes, the researcher’s multiple identities emerge and evolve with significance for how the research is socially produced.

Originality/value

The paper takes a broader perspective than usually seen in studies of researcher identities and is based on a researcher’s life history rather than only on a specific field-situation. As such, it has a longitudinal character, and it implies a broader, multilevel area of reflection, emphasizing dialectical relationships between the researcher, the context(s) and people involved in these, as well as the subject(s) of research, which are characterized by mutuality and continuality.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author thanks to Ann Langley for her comments, questions and suggestions. The author also thanks two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.

Citation

Omanović, V. (2019), "The emergence and evolution of researcher identities: Experiences, encounters, learning and dialectics", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 119-138. https://doi.org/10.1108/QROM-09-2017-1566

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited