In this paper, four critical friends meet to discuss qualitative research practices. Together they put one of their own case studies under the knife and deconstruct it to investigate the possibilities that knowledge work is complicated not only by the dynamics of socially constructed enterprises and the actors involved therein, but by the positioning of the researcher. The case describes an evaluative study of a university program where students engaged in directed experiential learning in group-integrated learning settings. The researcher was also the course lead-tutor and this gave rise to some concern, on later reflection and in discussions among critical friends, when issues of researcher positioning were considered. Together, through questioning the topic, the literature, the research experience and the role of the researcher, we developed a reflection-on-action rubric. In a research arena where subjective, interpretative and messy examples abound, as they should, this paper offers an example of our own work, an honest self-appraisal, a rubric for readers' consideration and a discussion that adds to the perpetual flux of knowledge work.