Getting On With Field Research Using Participant Deconstruction

April L. Wright*, Stuart Middleton, Paul Hibbert, Victoria Brazil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
165 Downloads (Pure)


This article adds to the repertoire of field research methods through developing the technique of “participant deconstruction.” This technique involves research participants challenging and reinterpreting organizational texts through the application of orienting, disorienting, and reorienting deconstructive questions. We show how participant deconstruction complements existing strategies for “getting on” with field research—cultivating relationships, developing outsider knowledge, and mobilizing insider knowledge—by facilitating research participants’ questioning and challenging of organizational texts and thus opening up alternative latent understandings, illuminating concealed meanings, supporting reflexivity for participants and researchers, and suggesting fruitful lines of inquiry. We illustrate the application of the technique with examples drawn from health care research projects. Through gathering further practitioner feedback from a variety of alternative contexts, we go on to demonstrate the potential application of participant deconstruction in a range of field contexts, by different types of practitioners undertaking deconstructive readings of a wide variety of organizational texts. We also offer suggestions for further research to extend the technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-295
Number of pages21
JournalOrganizational Research Methods
Issue number2
Early online date15 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


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