Reflecting on reflections: Critically apprising the benefits of member reflections for researchers, participants, findings, and studies


Research rigour is the alignment of methodology with philosophical paradigms, while maintaining precision and cohesiveness of ideas; it is a mark of research excellence. Adding rigor to qualitative research can occur through member reflections, which offers an opportunity to clarify ideas, explore gaps in initial findings, and generate additional data with participants. The purpose of this presentation is to critically appraise the benefits of member reflections to researchers, participants/knowledge-users, study findings, and overall research program. Using our own research as an exemplar, member reflections were employed in developing a user-informed and athlete-tailored self-compassion program for women athletes. In our study, member reflections occurred through multiple phases of focus groups. Engaging in multiple phases of data generation meant the researchers spent more time immersed in the data and conversing with participants, which led to many initially unexplored questions, insights to which offered depth and richness to the final findings. Follow-up focus groups allowed the researchers to lean into those questions to explore gaps in initial findings and clarify ideas from initial data generation. Member reflections also offered an opportunity to more fully co-produce findings with knowledge users, who were women athletes in our study. These additional insights served to amplify participant voices (which may otherwise go unheard), and generate meticulous, robust, and enriched findings to inform future phases of our larger research project. Member reflections create an opportunity for researchers to gain clarity and depth, as findings are co-produced with participants, which generates rigorous research to inform future studies.