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Grounding Reflexivity in a Qualitative Study on Love With Involved Fathers

Case
By: Alexandra Macht Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

This case study is based on my doctoral research on involved Scottish and Romanian fathers and their experience of love for their children. Within it, I briefly introduce the socio-constructionist epistemology of the research and how it helped me understand men as emotionally complex and relationally co-dependent individuals. I then proceed to describe my experience of employing Kathy Charmaz’s adapted version of grounded theory to collect interviews with fathers, whose practical application created a number of challenges. Furthermore, as a female researcher interviewing men, I had to pay attention to gender differences and power imbalances during fieldwork. I resolved this by keeping a reflexive diary, which helped develop my analytical arguments once incorporated into the data analysis. The case study presents discussion of the uses of reflexivity as a methodological “tool” and of the various roles that the researcher usually performs on the field. In addition, I also describe the qualitative interviewing strategies I have used to elicit rich data and to engage fathers in lengthy conversations about their emotions, especially about loving their children. Finally, I detail some gendered and cultural opportunities and obstacles, which the use of reflexivity can help highlight both within and beyond the scope of a social science research project.

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