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On researching a health condition that the researcher has also experienced

Hofmann, M; Barker, C; (2016) On researching a health condition that the researcher has also experienced. Qualitative Psychology , 4 (2) pp. 139-148. 10.1037/qup0000066. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper aims to explicate the particular aspects of reflexivity that arise in a research project when the researcher has personally experienced the condition that is the topic of the research. These issues are illustrated in the context of one specific study, in which the researcher was conducting qualitative research on an intervention for type 2 diabetes, when she herself had had type 1 diabetes since early childhood. The first set of issues concerns the advantages and disadvantages of the researcher’s experiential knowledge of the topic. These include the possibility for greater empathy with participants, the concomitant problem of false assumed similarity, the need to bracket one’s expectations, and the dilemma of whether or not to disclose one’s condition to participants. The second set concerns the researcher’s emotional reactions to the content of the research: becoming aware of the potential harmful consequences of one’s condition, feeling a sense of connectedness with the participants, learning from their struggles, and potentially benefitting personally from conducting the research. These issues are particularly salient in qualitative research, but may also apply to quantitative approaches. They are important to examine, not only because they may affect the trustworthiness of the findings, but also because of the ethical imperative to evaluate the potential impact of the research on both the participants and the researcher.

Type: Article
Title: On researching a health condition that the researcher has also experienced
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1037/qup0000066
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/qup0000066
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © APA. All rights reserved. This article may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Keywords: reflection, reflexivity, experiential knowledge, insider research, researcher disclosure
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1498909
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