‘You are what you research’: researcher partisanship and the sociology of the ‘underdog’

Karen Lumsden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


This article contributes to debates regarding the issue of researcher partisanship and bias within social research and situates it within the current trend towards reflexivity. The discussion draws upon the researcher’s experiences of conducting fieldwork with the ‘boy racer’ culture and societal groups affected by their behaviour. In this instance, the researcher unintentionally sided with the ‘underdogs’ – the ‘boy racers’. Hence, it is argued that value neutrality is an impossible goal, particularly in research of a political nature. Social researchers will inevitably ‘take sides’ whether or not they are willing to admit so. The discussion also touches upon the prevalence of media culture in ethnographic research and the dilemmas faced when making our research public at key moments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-18
Number of pages16
JournalQualitative Research
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


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