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A critical tradition has taken hold in HCI, yet research methods needed to meaningfully engage with critical questions in the qualitative tradition are nascent. In this paper, we explore one critical qualitative research approach that allows researchers to probe deeply into the relationships between communicative acts and social structures. Meaning reconstruction methods are described and illustrated using examples from HCI research, demonstrating how social norms can be traced as they are claimed and reproduced. We conclude with implications for strengthening rigorous critical inquiry in HCI research, including the use of extant critical research methods to document transparency and thick description.