Inspired by work/think/play in qualitative research, we centered the idea of “play” in a qualitative research project to explore what proceeding from the idea of work/think/play might look like and accomplish. We pursued play in an experimental qualitative inquiry over dinner one night at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Our article centers on one work/think/play inquiry three of us conducted. Through a playful account of how play unfolded in our work/think/play inquiry that evening, we explore research play as generative, deadly, and censored in the context of neoliberalism and other terrors. We reflect on what (good) play does in qualitative research, what our work/think/play/birth/death/terror/qualitative/research accomplished, if anything. Maybe research play is vital, what keeps us fit to do critical qualitative research. Yet research play moves (well) beyond normative rules of much qualitative research. Is it worth the risk? Can we know? Even after?

Publication Title

Qualitative Inquiry