Theoretical and ethical issues in conducting research at a women’s centre.

Ciclitira, Karen ORCID logoORCID: and Marzano, Lisa ORCID logoORCID: (2004) Theoretical and ethical issues in conducting research at a women’s centre. Proceedings of the British Psychological Society, 12 (2) . ISSN 1350-472X [Article]


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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Psychology of Women Section Annual Conference,
University College Northampton,
8–10 July 2003.
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Applied Health Psychology group
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Forensic Psychology Research Group
Item ID: 3254
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Devika Mohan
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2009 06:02
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:16

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