Grounding Reflexivity in a Qualitative Study on Love With Involved Fathers


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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