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Cream Cakes, Hungry Cats and Hugs: Developing a Responsive Strategy to Asking Sensitive Questions and Hearing the Answers

Mallon, Sharon (2019). Cream Cakes, Hungry Cats and Hugs: Developing a Responsive Strategy to Asking Sensitive Questions and Hearing the Answers. In: McSweeney, Fiona and Williams, David eds. Designing and Conducting Research in Social Science, Health and Social Care. London: Routledge, pp. 90–103.

URL: https://www.routledge.com/Designing-and-Conducting...
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Abstract

The ability to ask interviewees personal questions, which are likely to cause the participant to recall an emotionally distressing event, is a skill that takes time to develop. Learning ‘on the job’ can be challenging for both interviewee and interviewer. The practical experience of other researchers is therefore invaluable to avoid or minimise such challenges. The primary aim of this chapter is to facilitate other researchers to learn from the author’s experiences in interviewing people bereaved by suicide. The chapter will highlight how crucial decision points, both before and during data collection, have important consequences for the researched, the researcher and the research data. The author will argue these interviews can be emotionally laden encounters. However, they are also remarkably social occasions, characterised by an intimacy that is rarely reported in the literature. Thus it will include a discussion that highlights how students can respond to any blurring of boundaries they may experience, enabling them to develop a sense of control over the research encounter and to manage the emotions inherent in interviewing. This chapter will help researchers prepare for some of more the unique aspects of meeting and interviewing people about sensitive subjects.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: sensitive research; suicide; qualitative; methodology
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Health, Wellbeing and Social Care > Health and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Item ID: 60458
Depositing User: Sharon Mallon
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2019 13:53
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2019 14:56
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/60458
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