Theoretical and ethical issues in conducting research at a women’s centre.
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This paper will discuss research in progress on a study conducted at Women and Health, a women’s centre in London which offers therapeutic and counselling services to unemployed and low-income women. To justify their existence, women’s community services are increasingly required to evaluate their activities and to demonstrate the effectiveness of their provision to the local community. This long-term project involves the evaluation of Women and Health’s counselling services. Two questionnaires have been designed to collect data from women who have received counselling at Women and Health. These questionnaires aim to gather information about women’s backgrounds and social support networks, and to measure possible changes in women’s general health and levels of anxiety following treatment. Counselling clients will also be invited to carry out pre- and posttreatment interviews, which will focus on women’s life narratives and a variety of client factors, in particular their attachment histories (reflecting current views about the centrality of primary attachments, e.g. George & West, 2001). The interviews will also explore whether the women think counselling has affected their health and wellbeing, their sense of isolation or relatedness, and if it has helped them to achieve any other self-identified objectives. The methodology of ‘triangulation’ is generally employed with the aim of generating a fuller account of clinical phenomena (e.g. Maione & Chenail, 1999). However, feminists recognise that there are methodological and ethical problems with both qualitative and quantitative methods. There are particular difficulties and tensions involved in designing and carrying out this type of research. Researchers have to struggle to manage the institutional requirement for ‘scientific’ studies, while at the same time seeking to make their research meaningful, critical and adequately attentive to the welfare of participants.
Psychology of Women Section Annual Conference,
University College Northampton,
8–10 July 2003.
|Research Areas:||Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Health and Education > Health & Education|
|Deposited On:||30 Nov 2009 06:02|
|Last Modified:||06 Feb 2013 12:12|
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