Living on the edges: public knowledge, private lives, personal experience

Edwards, Rosalind and Ribbens, Jane (1998). Living on the edges: public knowledge, private lives, personal experience. In: Ribbens, Jane and Edward, Rosalind eds. Feminist Dilemmas in Qualitative Research: Public Knowledge and Private Lives. Social Research Methods Online. London: Sage, pp. 2–20.




Social research is a difficult and perplexing task, whatever its focus and topic. One of its fascinations is that it requires sensitivity to issues on many different levels. On the one hand, we need to think through our theoretical frameworks and assumptions. On the other hand, research is also an intensely practical exercise, requiring us constantly to make detailed, concrete decisions. But these layers within research cannot be distinguished in actuality in quite this way, since theory and nitty-gritty decisions do not occur in different places but are constantly intertwined within the research process. This edited collection seeks to explore the interplay between theory, ways of knowing about the social world, and methodology and practice in qualitative research projects. This interplay is explored in relation to a particular set of topics, which may be broadly described as concerned with ‘private’ domestic, intimate, and personal lived experience.

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