Co-production partnerships between policymakers, practitioners and researchers are designed to facilitate production of relevant and readily usable research in health policy and practice contexts. We describe methodological strategies for in-depth collaborative analysis based on a co-produced ethnography of health promotion practice, involving ethnographic researchers and government-based research partners. We draw on a co-production dialogue to reflect critically on the role and value of co-analysing research findings using thick ethnographic descriptions. The ambiguity of ethnographic imagery allowed flexibility in interpretation of findings but also generated friction. Specific ethnographic images became focal points for productive friction that crystallised ethical and analytical imperatives underpinning the diverse expertise in the team. To make the most of co-analysis of thick ethnographic descriptions, we assert that friction points must be eflexively considered as key learning opportunities for: a) higher order analysis informed by diverse analytical perspectives, and b) more cohesive and useful interpretations of research findings.