Applied Research, Diffractive Methodology, and the Research-Assemblage: Challenges and Opportunities

Nick J Fox, Pam Alldred

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This article offers a critical assessment of the challenges for policy- and practice-oriented social research of ‘diffractive methodology’ (DM): a post-representational approach to data analysis gaining interest among social researchers. Diffractive analyses read data from empirical research alongside other materials – including researchers’ perspectives, memories, experiences, and emotions – to provide novel insights on events. While this analytical approach acknowledges the situatedness of all research data, it raises issues concerning the applicability of findings for policy or practice. In addition, it does not elucidate in what ways and to what extent the diffractions employed during analysis have influenced the findings. To explore these questions, we diffract DM itself, by reading it alongside a DeleuzoGuattarian analysis of research-as-assemblage. This supplies a richer understanding of the entanglements between research and its subject-matter, and suggests how diffractive analysis may be used in conjunction with other methods in practice- and policy-oriented research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-109
Number of pages17
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number1
Early online date19 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


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