The emotional labour of doctoral criminological researchers

Waters, Jaime; Westaby, Chalen; Fowler, Andrew and Phillips, Jake (2020). The emotional labour of doctoral criminological researchers. Methodological Innovations, 13(2)



Embarking upon empirical qualitative research can be a daunting and emotional task, particularly for those who are new to research and for those who research vulnerable groups and emotive topics. Doctoral criminological researchers transect these realms, often making their research experiences acutely emotional and challenging. In addition, researchers must be able to perform emotional labour as an important part of their professional practice. Based on 30 semi-structured interviews, this is the first study to explicitly explore the emotional labour of criminological researchers. Using the lens of emotional labour, the performance and impact of undertaking qualitative data collection in doctoral research is examined. From the interview data, three main themes are discussed: emotional labour, the consequences of performing that emotional labour and coping mechanisms to deal with those consequences. The article concludes with recommendations around support and training for PhD candidates, their supervisors and the higher education sector more broadly.

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