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When the researcher is a ‘wounded storyteller’

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Dr Russell Delderfield

on 4 January 2018

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Transcript of When the researcher is a ‘wounded storyteller’

"Emotional Labour"
Subjectivity in personally resonant research
the nature of self within and without the research...
...coupled with the study of others' subjective experiences.

The 'I' experience of the researcher is the accumulated messages, actions, beliefs, assumptions and pre-judgements that pervade us.

'pretence' that everything can be exposed...then set aside to discover neutral objectivity is not useful or real.

It is better to work with
subjectivity rather than assume

“…a constellation of dialogically structured subject positions enacted in the intersubjective space of the person’s relations with others.” (p.234)
Authenticity... and Audit-trail
Good research will not merely acknowledge subjectivity but theorise it, tap into it and use it...
The wounded storyteller is anyone who has suffered and lived to tell the tale. Suffering does not magically disappear when the tale is told, but the more stories I heard the less space my own suffering seemed to take up. I felt less alone.

A way to
to frame 'I' in
eating disorders research
How did I address the emotional labour, personal resonances & subjective findings
Explicit that there was a personal aspect to the research from outset

Shared my story

Used writing-as-process

Made the personal element a part of the analytical work

Included selected personally-impactful observations within the write-up (where judged significant).

Read outside/around the stories to gauge reliability
Self-in-research nexus
What is it in eating disorders qualitative research?
Reflexivity is thus the process of continually reflecting upon our interpretations of both our experience [of doing the research] and the phenomena being studied so as to move beyond the partiality of our previous understandings and our investment in particular research outcomes.
When the researcher is a ‘wounded storyteller’: exploring emotional labour and personal impact in research.

Dr Russell Delderfield

What does it mean to be a
Wounded Storyteller?

Frank, A.W. (2013) The wounded storyteller: body, illness, and ethics. University of Chicago Press, 2nd Edition, p. xi.
Finlay, L. & Gough, B. (Eds) (2008)
Reflexivity: A practical guide for researchers in health and social sciences
. John Wiley & Sons, p. 108.
As can be seen in the stories, some of my personal response survived until the ‘final’ version of the interpretation. These tend to represent some of the times I connected so thoroughly with an experience that it felt painful and reassuring all at once...
Gareth’s pro-Ana experiences were so challenging at the time that some of the issues [I had] ...became part of his chapter. This really illustrated to me how inculcated I had become with medical discourses around how bad these spaces were for users, yet Gareth’s experience was far more complex than a simple good/bad binary
In James’s story I found fellowship because the first phase of my disordered eating involved significant amounts of excessive exercise: I had to deal with overwhelming feelings of nostalgia.
Georgaca, E. (2001) Voices of the Self in Psychotherapy: A Qualitative Analysis.
British Journal of Medical Psychology
, 74 (2), pp.223-236.
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