Aim To present a novice researcher’s use of a reflective research diary in the quantitive measure of a mixed methods study and to recommend resulting changes to practice.
Background Reflexivity is often regarded as a useful tool for ensuring the standard of qualitative research. Reflexivity provides transparent information about the positionality and personal values of the researcher that could affect data collection and analysis; this research process is deemed to be best practice. A reflective research diary also allows researchers to record observations about the research process. However, such diaries are rarely used in quantitative research and are even contraindicated.
Data sources A reflective research diary maintained while conducting a retrospective audit of 150 hospice casenotes.
Review methods A reflective research diary was written at the end of every research session to keep a detailed history of the research process and to critically reflect on the researcher’s thoughts, feelings and observations on the day’s work.
Discussion This paper raises questions about whether reflexivity is appropriate in quantitative research, whether it has the capacity to add something of value or whether it endangers the robustness of the method. The authors consider the place of grounded theory’s commitment to reflexivity in this mixed-methods study and discuss whether reflexivity offers any benefits to researcher development.
Conclusion Use of reflexivity had a positive impact on the progress of the quantitative measure of this study: it enabled work to be reviewed efficiently and served to inform future research practice. Reflexivity stimulated the acquisition of researcher skills and contributed positively to the development of confidence in the novice researcher.
Implications for research/practice Reflexivity in quantitative research practice can be an effective, ongoing means of critically reviewing work, process and researcher development. Reflexivity is recommended to other quantitative researchers.