Dorothy Atkinson:Practical and emotional issues in co researching
Practical and emotional issues in co-researching Dorothy Atkinson Plymouth 2013 The Open University
Getting close to peopleBuilding rapport means getting close to people by: Being friendly and informal Creating a relaxed atmosphere Using a conversational approach Doing things together
Dangers in getting closeCloseness in research has the potential to: Exploit people Make them dependent Raise expectations of friendship Encourage people to see the researchers as a supporter/helper Delve into sensitive areas Leave people feeling rejected/sad when it’s over
Saying goodbye The project, initially seen (by me) as lasting a few weeks, in fact lasted almost two years. The acute worry I confided in my diary at the outset (‘How can I retain their interest?’) soon became, and remained, a more chronic anxiety (‘How will it ever end?’). The group, it seemed, had a life and momentum of its own, in spite of my efforts to impose boundaries on its work and limit its lifespan. I brought the group to an end. It was a ‘happy ending’ for me (and probably for staff members who were involved in organising transport) but not necessarily for anyone else. In a real sense, then, this could be seen as an unhappy ending, with the termination of the group’s life and the subsequent loss of friendships.
Ethical and emotional checklist Exploitation Dependency Expectations of friendship Perceptions of the researcher as supporter/helper Sensitive areas Rejection and/or sadness