Researching with Feeling
The Emotional Aspects of Social and Organizational Research
Why should researchers be interested in their feelings and emotions as they carry out research? Emotion is what it is to exist, to be human, and is present in every sphere of our lives. All activities are infused with emotion, even those that are constructed as ‘rational’, because rationality and emotionality are interpenetrated and entwined because all thinking is tinged with feeling, and all feeling is tinged with thinking.
This book illuminates the emotional processes of doing social and organizational research, and the implications of this for the outcomes of research. With contributions from leading academics and research practitioners, it addresses the significant issue of the sometimes intense emotional experiences involved in doing research and the implications it has for the theory and practice of social research. By examining the nature of feelings and emotions, it explores how we might understand researchers’ emotions and experiences, and considers the often powerful feelings encountered in a variety of research contexts. Topics discussed include: power relations; psycho-social explanations of researcher emotions; paradoxical relations with research participants and the sometimes disturbing data that is gained; research supervision; the politics of research; gender; publishing, undergoing vivas and presenting at conferences.
This book will therefore be a valuable companion to researchers and research students from the start of their career onwards.
Table of Contents
Foreword 1. Why Should Researchers be Interested in their Feelings? 2. Recognising Research as an Emotional Journey 3. Negotiating Identities: Fluidity, Diversity and Researcher Emotion 4. Emotionally Charged Research – Engaging with the Politics of Action Research 5. The Not-so Dark Side of Emotions: Anger as a Resource in Research Apprenticeship 6. A Psycho Social Approach to Researching With Feeling 7. The emotional experience of research supervision 8. Not researching where we grew up 9. Tales from post-field work: Writing Up; Vivas; Conferences; and Publications 10. Researching with Feeling: The Case for an Affective Paradigm in Social and Organisational Research 11. Authorial Confessions: Revealing Our Own Hands
Caroline Clarke is Senior Lecturer in Management with the Open University Business School, UK.
Mike Broussine is a freelance organizational researcher and consultant and a Visiting Research Fellow at UWE, UK.
Linda Watts has worked in corporate management and community development roles in local government and is actively involved in the voluntary sector in Bath.
'This vibrant and truly fascinating collection of essays opens up the normally hidden backstage of doing organizational research. Going well-beyond the familiar ritualistic nods towards reflexivity, the authors delve into the complex emotional and social terrain of the research process, emphasising the dynamics of power and identity that are in play. It will be invaluable reading both for graduate students and more experienced researchers in organization studies and social science.' - Christopher Grey, Professor, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.
‘At last! – a research methods book that acknowledges, and even celebrates the fact that researchers are human beings with feelings and emotional attachments. Outing the insecurities in research relationships and in the interpretation of data will reassure new researchers that they are ‘normal’. I wish this book had been available when I was struggling with my PhD research.’ – Michael Humphreys, Professor, University of Durham, UK.
'The book is an excellent and timely contribution to understanding researcher emotion, which will resonate with any reader who has, even only occasionally, ventured into this field of operation. It exposes the academics’ very worst fears, but it provides a coping mechanism too – that this is not a lonely endeavour and will provide solace and sustenance to researchers at any stage of their careers.' - Christine Coupland, Professor, Loughborough University, UK
'This book is a ‘must’ read for anyone with an interest in emotions in organizational research, honest explorations of the research journey, and social science inquiry sensitive to feeling.' - Andrew D. Brown, Professor, University of Bath, UK
'The significance of researchers’ assumptions and preconceptions in the production of social science is now widely acknowledged. This book extends such reflexivity to the emotions – that is, to the emotionality of the researcher, not just the emotions of research `subjects’. Its contributors offer a series of illuminating insights into all phases of research as an emotionally charged roller coaster ride fuelled by beatific (e.g. self-doubt) and horrific (self-aggrandizing) fantasies. The chapters thereby open up a dimension of research activity that, to date, has been largely disregarded in reflexive and sophisticated discussions of methodology.' - Hugh Willmott, Professor, Cardiff University, UK
'Attractively and accessibly written, this book provides welcome reassurance that the emotional highs and lows experienced in the research process are ‘normal’. The vignettes will strike a chord with students and experienced researchers alike. A book to return to time and again.' - Sarah-Louise Weller, Phd student, University of Bath, UK.
'[Until now] The researcher’s emotional life – fears, anxieties, blocks, conflicts, oppressions and joys - are private matters and are to remain in the closet. Refreshingly, this book challenges this outlook...This edited collection grapples with these issues, breaking the taboo that surrounds looking inwards at the researcher and research experience.' - Foreword by Steve Fineman, Professor, University of Bath, UK