In this study, we document a reflexive process via bracketing techniques and the development of a conceptual map in order to better understand how emotions that arise in the field can inform research design, implementation, and results. We conducted a content analysis of field notes written by a team of researchers who administered an interview to caregivers bringing children to visit an incarcerated family member at a local jail. Our self-examination revealed themes around the team's discomfort connected to the institutional jail setting and intense emotions regarding the life situations of study participants, their treatment by jail staff, and our own concerns about leaving the research setting. We offer recommendations for scholars conducting research in similar environments with vulnerable participants.


Corrections, Emotions, Fieldwork, Qualitative Research, Reflexivity, Self-Study


The authors wish to acknowledge the Department of Human Development, and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, for funding this research.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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