Qualitative health research has long had as one of its mantras a commitment to, and focus on, human rights and social justice. However over time, it is possible that such centrality can have the effect of creating a sense of the familiar, and with such familiarity assumptions about how human rights and social justice are being advanced through the process of qualitative inquiry. A sense of comfort or even complacency can emerge that may sometimes obstruct or prevent us from pausing to think deeply and re-examine these assumptions and how they impact on our thinking and actions as qualitative researchers. This paper aims to surface questions designed to produce points of hesitation able to assist in exploring the critical issue of how qualitative research does, and might, fit with an agenda based around the advancement of human rights and social justice. Using examples from my own research I explore and reflect on issues that have troubled me and subsequently forced me to hesitate and think deeply about what may have seemed self evident or given.
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