Title

Into the Depths of Reflexivity and Back Again: When Personal Experience Mirrors Research

Location

2074

Format Type

Paper

Format Type

Paper

Start Date

14-1-2017 10:30 AM

End Date

14-1-2017 11:50 AM

Abstract

Every qualitative thesis has a story attached to it—an impetus for engaging in the research. When the research combines sensitive topics and the research mirrors the personal experiences of the researcher, decisions must be made considering the research processes and methods. Such was the case in completing a Master’s thesis related to recovering crack cocaine addicted mothers who had lost custody of their children. My story starts in 2002 when I was hospitalized for severe depression and subsequently lost custody of my five children for a period of 2 years. Entering into a long term recovery centre, I lived with other mothers who were devastated with grief over the loss of their children. In the three years I was in the recovery center, I was the only mother who regained custody of her children. I vowed if I was to ever do my Master’s, I would be a conduit for the voices of these women. When I was accepted into a Master’s program, I was fraught with anxiety regarding the disclosure of my reasons for engaging in a thesis of this nature. For 10 months preceding beginning my first thesis course, I utilized a reflexive journal as I agonized over research decisions that had to be made. Three themes dominated my reflexive journal: liminality, the wrestle, and the third space. This presentation highlights my journey into the depths of reflexivity and back again as I journeyed into and through the spaces of liminality.

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Jan 14th, 10:30 AM Jan 14th, 11:50 AM

Into the Depths of Reflexivity and Back Again: When Personal Experience Mirrors Research

2074

Every qualitative thesis has a story attached to it—an impetus for engaging in the research. When the research combines sensitive topics and the research mirrors the personal experiences of the researcher, decisions must be made considering the research processes and methods. Such was the case in completing a Master’s thesis related to recovering crack cocaine addicted mothers who had lost custody of their children. My story starts in 2002 when I was hospitalized for severe depression and subsequently lost custody of my five children for a period of 2 years. Entering into a long term recovery centre, I lived with other mothers who were devastated with grief over the loss of their children. In the three years I was in the recovery center, I was the only mother who regained custody of her children. I vowed if I was to ever do my Master’s, I would be a conduit for the voices of these women. When I was accepted into a Master’s program, I was fraught with anxiety regarding the disclosure of my reasons for engaging in a thesis of this nature. For 10 months preceding beginning my first thesis course, I utilized a reflexive journal as I agonized over research decisions that had to be made. Three themes dominated my reflexive journal: liminality, the wrestle, and the third space. This presentation highlights my journey into the depths of reflexivity and back again as I journeyed into and through the spaces of liminality.