The context of this paper surrounds my Master’s thesis which was written in 2010 related to recovering crack cocaine addicted mothers who had lost custody of their children. 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 experience of the researcher, decisions must be made considering the research processes and methods. This paper explores the reflexive processes that were employed in the 10 months preceding taking my first thesis course. Using the preface of my reflexive journal as data, three themes arose from subsequent coding with qualitative data analysis software: liminality, the wrestle, and the third space. The resultant discussion of the three themes highlights my journey into the depths of reflexivity and back again as I journeyed into and through the spaces of liminality.


Reflexivity, Liminality, Child Custody Loss, Qualitative Research

Author Bio(s)

Katherine J. Janzen is an Associate Professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her interests include women and addictions, phenomenology, compassion fatigue, and creative arts-based teaching strategies. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: kjjanzen@mtroyal.ca.


I wish to thank my thesis supervisor, Dr. Sherri Melrose, for her invaluable assistance in preparing this article. She remains my champion--my hero.

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