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Exploring Parents' Experiences of Living With a Child With a Long-Term Condition: Methodological Challenges When Interviewing Couples

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By: Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

My doctoral thesis explored how parents manage their child’s long-term condition in the context of children with hydrocephalus, a neurological condition where there is excessive fluid within the brain. More specifically I focused on parents’ experiences of living with a child with hydrocephalus and the ways in which health professionals involve parents in care and care decisions. Two exploratory studies were undertaken using interview and observational methods to elicit data. Subsequently, I have supervised several doctoral students who have undertaken research with families. One of the recurring challenges when undertaking research in the context of the family relates to whether data collection, and more specifically interviews, should be undertaken with individual family members, couples together, or multi-family members and whether to analyze data sets separately or together. Although there is a wealth of literature relating to the underpinning epistemology of the individual interview and the focus group, and guidance on these data collection methods, there is a paucity of literature within health and social science disciplines relating to interviewing couples simultaneously. This case study provides an account of the ethical and methodological challenges when interviewing a couple together by drawing on examples from my PhD.

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