Working with emotion: issues for the research in fieldwork and teamwork


Hubbard G, Backett-Milburn K & Kemmer D (2001) Working with emotion: issues for the research in fieldwork and teamwork. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 4 (2), pp. 119-138.

This paper addresses the role of emotion in the qualitative research process and in particular, the effects of emotional experiences on the researcher. Drawing briefly on the literature, we show the importance of emotion for understanding the research process. Whilst this literature acknowledges the emotional risk for research respondents, there is little evidence providing in-depth understanding of the emotions of the researcher. We consider theoretically and empirically, the significance of emotion throughout the duration of a research project. Using our own personal experiences in the field, we present a range of emotional encounters that qualitative researchers may face. We offer suggestions for research teams who wish to develop strategies for 'managing' emotion and effectively utilizing 'emotionally-sensed knowledge'. We conclude that unless emotion in research is acknowledged, not only will researchers be left vulnerable, but also our understandings of the social world will remain impoverished. The challenge therefore is how to construct meaning and develop understanding and knowledge in an academic environment that, on the whole, trains researchers to be rational and objective, and 'extract out' emotion.

International Journal of Social Research Methodology: Volume 4, Issue 2

Publication date31/12/2001
PublisherTaylor and Francis