Experimenter as automaton; experimenter as human: Exploring the position of the researcher in scientific research

Sarahanne M. Field*, Maarten Derksen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
175 Downloads (Pure)


The crisis of confidence in the social sciences has many corollaries which impact our research practices. One of these is a push towards maximal and mechanical objectivity in quantitative research. This stance is reinforced by major journals and academic institutions that subtly yet certainly link objectivity with integrity and rigor. The converse implication of this may be an association between subjectivity and low quality. Subjectivity is one of qualitative methodology's best assets, however. In qualitative methodology, that subjectivity is often given voice through reflexivity. It is used to better understand our own role within the research process, and is a means through which the researcher may oversee how they influence their research. Given that the actions of researchers have led to the poor reproducibility characterising the crisis of confidence, it is worthwhile to consider whether reflexivity can help improve the validity of research findings in quantitative psychology. In this report, we describe a combination approach of research: the data of a series of interviews helps us elucidate the link between reflexive practice and quality of research, through the eyes of practicing academics. Through our exploration of the position of the researcher in their research, we shed light on how the reflections of the researcher can impact the quality of their research findings, in the context of the current crisis of confidence. The validity of these findings is tempered, however, by limitations to the sample, and we advise caution on the part of our audience in their reading of our conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal for Philosophy of Science
Issue number1
Early online date6-Nov-2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Reflexivity
  • Subjectivity
  • Reproducibility

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