View From the Penthouse: Epistemological Bumps and Emergent Metaphors as Method for Team Reflexivity

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Research in health care occurs within interdisciplinary teams that include clinician–researchers who have multiple epistemological orientations. Rigor in collaborative projects requires reflexive attention to how the paradigmatic questions raised by diverse epistemological orientations, and the ethical stances of each researcher, shape findings. This methodological article draws on three events during an ethnography of stigma in psychiatry to define and illustrate how we used double hermeneutics in data analysis. This allowed us to examine the metaphors that emerged from what we are conceptualizing as “epistemological bumps.” This heightened the team’s awareness of the epistemological horizons and mixing that occurred, as well as revealing what mattered to each researcher, during the crafting of our research decisions and findings. We argue that interdisciplinary research on complex processes in health care requires this close examination of team experiences and moral stakes during collaborative analysis, and offer conceptual suggestions for reflexivity and rigor.

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