Oh, what a tangled web we weave: experiences of doing ‘multiple perspectives’ research in families



Harden J, Backett‐Milburn K, Hill M & MacLean A (2010) Oh, what a tangled web we weave: experiences of doing ‘multiple perspectives’ research in families. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 13 (5), pp. 441-452.

It is not uncommon to explore the views of parents and children in qualitative research with families. Yet the implications and challenges of a multiple perspective approach often remain at a relatively taken‐for‐granted level. In this article we draw on our experience across a range of qualitative interview‐based projects, focusing in particular on two case studies, to illustrate the practical working out of the challenges posed by multiple perspective research in families. The implications of research with parents and children are discussed in relation to two themes – power and truth. This discussion reflects on the challenges and benefits of multiple perspective research at different points in the research process. It is not the intention of this article to try to provide definitive ‘answers’ to some of the challenges posed. Rather we aim to open up discussion by reflecting on a range of scenarios, offering suggestions based on our experience, and so, allow the reader to reflect on the particularities of their own research.

multiple perspectives; family research; qualitative

International Journal of Social Research Methodology: Volume 13, Issue 5

FundersEconomic and Social Research Council
Publication date31/12/2010
Publication date online28/05/2010
Date accepted by journal25/01/2010
PublisherInforma UK Limited

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Dr Alice MacLean

Dr Alice MacLean

Research Fellow, Institute for Social Marketing