The Open Science movement, a global initiative to make scientific research and data more accessible, transparent, and collaborative, encourages us to develop a positionality and reflexivity statement at each stage of the research process and to adjust this dynamic document as necessary. For those of you unfamiliar with positionality, it “ . . . refers to the position a researcher has chosen to adopt within a given research study. It necessitates the researcher consciously examining their own identity to allow the reader to assess the effect of their personal characteristics and perspectives in relation to the study . Whereas reflexivity “ . . . is a form of critical thinking that involves addressing the issues of identity and positionality by making the researcher’s assumptions explicit and finding strategies to question these” .
According to Steltenpohl, Hudson and Klement , “it’s not a static representation of who you are, what you think or how you work, a listing of demographics or ‘declaration of interest’ and not a credentialing process”. “The purpose of these statements is to highlight the researchers’ cognitive limits and opportunities so that the readers are aware of how those factors may have influenced observations and interpretations reported in the study” .
I am participating in a research study where I developed my positionality and reflexivity statement which I thought I would share as an example:
As a scholar-practitioner, my approach to research and practice is influenced by my background and experiences. I identify as a white cisgender female. I was fortunate to grow up in a middle-class household, which provided me with stability and access to higher education to become an occupational therapist and an ergonomist. From a young age, I took on employment responsibilities which instilled in me a strong work ethic and a sense of self-reliance. As a mother and grandmother, I bring a generational perspective to my work, valuing intergenerational dynamics. I am aware that my privileges, including access to higher education, financial stability, and the opportunities afforded by residing in an affluent urban center, have played a substantial role in shaping my worldview. I acknowledge that these privileges may inadvertently influence my interpretations, and interactions with people. I commit to remaining vigilant and self-aware, seeking to recognize and mitigate any potential biases that may arise due to my positionality. I value transparency and will be forthright about how my background may influence my perceptions.
This issue contains 30 papers and a column by Dr. Lynn Shaw titled Retrospective review of work transition narratives: Advancing occupational perspectives and strategies. The issue also introduces and welcomes the column, Bridging the gap: Hospital to workplace authored by Dr. Leonard N. Matheson. As Dr. Matheson shares, “This bimonthly column provides narratives of anonymized clients in situations that challenge their return-to-work. Each case study is designed for postgraduate education about tools and methods that are appropriate to consider in similar situations.”
The Editor’s Choice paper is the 21st anniversary of job embeddedness: A retrospection and future research agenda authored by Xue, Rafiq, Meng, and Peerzadah. The authors used bibliometrics to measure the influence of research articles on the construct job embeddedness (JE). Interestingly, JE is all the factors that keep an employee on the job; that is job retention.
Our next Learn at WORK webinar is on December 5 at 12-1pm EST. Stefan Celine Hardonk and Álfhei∂ur (Hei∂a) Hafsteinsdóttir will present their Editor’s Choice paper titled, Understanding work inclusion: Analysis of the perspectives of people with intellectual disabilities on employment in the Icelandic labor market. Please register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5373083958842751062.
This will be the concluding Learn at WORK webinar as we are pivoting to delivering a monthly Learn at WORK podcast series starting in January 2024. I am delighted to share that Dr. Matheson will be our first guest on the podcast. Details about the podcast can be found on our website: workjournal.org/learn-work-podcast.
With kind regards,
Founding Editor, WORK
Occupational therapist & ergonomist
Wilson C , Janes G , Williams J Identity, positionality and reflexivity: Relevance and application to research paramedics, British Paramedic Journal (2022) ;7: (2):43–9.
Steltenpohl C , Hudson S , Klement K (Directors). How to begin writing a positionality statement [Video].Vimeo. 2022. https://vimeo.com/675236573/741e24aab7