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Getting on with field research using participant deconstruction

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April Wright, Stuart Middleton, Paul Charles Hibbert, Victoria Brazil

School/Research organisations


This paper adds to the repertoire of field research methods through developing the technique of ‘participant deconstruction’. This technique involves research participants challenging and re-interpreting organizational texts through the application of orienting, disorienting and re-orienting deconstructive questions. We show how participant deconstruction complements existing strategies for ‘getting on’ with field research – cultivating relationships, developing outsider knowledge and mobilising insider knowledge – by facilitating research participants’ questioning and challenging of organizational texts and thus opening up alternative latent understandings, illuminating concealed meanings and supporting reflexivity for participants and researchers, thereby opening up fruitful lines of inquiry. We illustrate the application of the technique with examples drawn from healthcare research projects. Through gathering further practitioner feedback from a variety of alternative contexts, we go on to demonstrate the potential application of participant deconstruction in a range of field contexts, by different types of practitioners undertaking deconstructive readings of a wide variety of organizational texts. We also offer suggestions for further research to extend the technique.


Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganizational Research Methods
Early online date15 Jul 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jul 2018

    Research areas

  • Qualitative Research, Deconstruction, Healthcare management, Field research, Research relationships, Texts

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ID: 253160019