What is positionality and should it be expressed in quantitative studies?

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Abstract

Although we are increasingly reaping the benefits of qualitative studies, their approach and that of quantitative studies remain rather separate. Emergency medicine practitioners thrive off research in context as we deal with such an undifferentiated population however quantitative ‘hard-science’ work is conspicuous for its absence of positionality. This contrasts strongly with the way in which qualitative research, within the domain of so-called soft-science literature, uses positionality as an integral element of the research process. Without contextualising the researcher and research environment in qualitative studies, often the meaning of any research output is lost. What follows is that positionality does not undermine the truth of such research, instead it defines the boundaries within which the research was produced. [ZERO WIDTH SPACE] The absence of positionality when considered alongside the notion of bias, may challenge the quantitative idea of validity.

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