We Always Make and Do More: The Collateral Realities of Methodological Rigor

Activity: Talk or presentation / Performance / SpeechesTalk or presentation - at conferenceAcademic


Making & Doing projects provide an excellent pathway to make STS knowledge and expertise travel to new areas, while it offers a platform for both practitioners and researchers to learn, to act and to change. However, to leave a sustainable mark in the ecology of practices requires methodological rigor. Traditionally this rigor is externally defined, inflexible and applied upon arrival. Our rigor, however, comes over time, is derived on location and from within. Whereas practice optimization acts as our spot on the horizon, navigating towards it produces collateral realities that require our attention as well. Methodological rigor, it turns out, comes with mess and vulnerabilities for all involved. In Making & Doing no one stays clean, all involved -including us- are contaminated. In our presentation we want to discuss the methodological rigor that Making & Doing requires and the ‘interventionist principle of symmetry’ that these kinds of projects harbor. Method The method of video-reflexive ethnography (VRE) is a collaborative visual methodology used by researchers and/or professionals to understand, interpret, and optimize professionals’ work practices. The VRE methodology is an intervention that involves filming day-to-day work and showing back selected footage to the participants during video-reflexive sessions. A reflexive meeting is not just about surprise and that things look ‘cool and very nice’, video-reflexive ethnography (VRE), in fact, is a methodology that provides participants the opportunity to view the taken-for-granted from under a new perspective, including its hologrammatic effect. This new perspective generates (re)awareness and (re)appreciation of daily routines by both the clinicians as well as the researcher. Relevance We aim to present a first-person account with critical analytical reflection on our own actions and learning. By looking at new ways of effecting the travel of STS knowledge across the boundaries of the field and reflexively learning from those experiences, the scholarship of making and doing challenges a number of boundaries: between rigor and mess, between fast-track and slow pace, and between critical reflection and accountability. In sum, we want to discuss how the scholarship of making and doing might trouble existing academic categories, such as the notion of method.
Period5 Sept 2019
Event titleSociety of Social Studies of Science Annual Meeting 2019: Innovations, Interruptions, Regenerations
Event typeConference
LocationNew Orleans, United States, LouisianaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • VRE
  • Making & Doing
  • methodology
  • reflexive learning
  • mess