Cooperation and conflict in qualitative research: A dialectical approach to knowledge production

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Our goal with this article is to present a dialectical approach to examining the interaction between researchers and research participants. A dialectical approach maintains that an apparent contradiction at one level might, in fact, be integrated as a synthesis of the two opposing poles at a higher level of conceptual analysis. We claim that a research approach advocating either pole might limit understanding of the complexity of the phenomenon in question. The interaction between researchers and research participants might be conceived of as creating a continuum ranging from cooperation to conflict. We adopt a dialectical perspective, and propose a whole spectrum of interactive styles between cooperation and conflict. Although some of these interactions might be perceived as a hindrance to knowledge production, we treat them as opportunities for the production of knowledge and the enhancement of interests of the studys target population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Collaboration
  • General
  • Knowledge construction
  • Qualitative methods
  • Reflexivity
  • Research
  • Research participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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