Sensitive Research Methods for 'Trying Times'

Organisation Studies

Speaker:Majella O'Leary, University of Exeter
Date: Wednesday 20 January 2016
Time: 14:30
Location: Pearson Teaching Room, Building One

Further details

This paper presents an approach to field research, which was first considered when the researcher faced a particularly challenging research environment involving the victims of fraud. This particular study required a greater effort to generate trust, a greater sensitivity and responsibility to research participants and a more exaggerated need for anonymity than had previously been experienced by the researcher. It led the researcher to consider the question of appropriate methods for research in ‘trying times.’ The researcher has more recently embarked on two further studies involving what could be described as consisting of ‘sensitive’ research contexts and ‘vulnerable’ groups (a study of ‘crisis’ schools and a study of consumers of short-term, high-interest credit). These research projects have troubled the researcher from a methodological perspective such that further development of this earlier work is underway. The researcher thus is engaged in the ongoing development of a multiple method approach for research in ‘trying times’. This method involves a combination of research techniques which it is hoped form a robust method for collecting, constructing and analyzing sensitive stories of vulnerable groups. The method involves applying the following techniques: sensitive narrative interviews, contextualization, narrative constructions, and an aesthetic-argumentation analytical approach.