Dirty secrets and being ‘strange’: using ethnomethodology to move beyond familiarity

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The paper is a discussion of my attempt to move beyond familiarity by using ethnomethodology – and the emotional impact of doing so; namely, the feeling of having a ‘dirty secret’. As a social work group member interviewing social workers, the process of fieldwork was all too familiar. However, during transcription and analysis, what I had considered to be ‘business as usual’ was revealed as something more complex. The paper describes how the ethnomethodological notions of being a member, the unique adequacy requirement of methods, and breaching worked to make the familiar strange and became key to my understanding.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-540
Number of pages15
JournalQualitative Research
Issue number5
Early online date3 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • emotions in qualitative research, ethnomethodology, familiarity, insider research