I am a survivor of divorce. When I visited Hong Kong, a mutual friend introduced me to a cellist going through a divorce as a participant for my research which investigates music learning and identity of Chinese musicians. My research took a different path because I decided to explore how she constructed meaning through divorce, leading to her identity change. I referred her to counselling and supported her through regular messaging. Research is more than just data collection; the wounded-healer standing by the wounded is therapeutic for both of us. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), this study reports our conversations, including two face-to-face semi-structured interviews and messaging over eighteen months. Four themes emerged about the cellist’s understanding of her marital conflict: an urge for financial security and materialistic pursuit; faith abandonment; prioritizing children’s education and parenthood; and diverging lives. This longitudinal study explored relational ethics, researcher care and research as emancipation. It acknowledged the freedom and choice-making responsibility of the researcher who extended the project boundary to improve the wellbeing of the participant. This is the essence of qualitative research, with unanticipated life-changing consequences that transform the researcher, the participant, and global readers who share a similar experience.
Marriage Disintegration, Identity Change, Relational Ethics and Care, Research As Emancipation, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
It is with gratitude that I thank Rebecca for her participation in my research. I also want to thank my mentors Dr Jane Southcott and Dr Shirley Trembath for their guidance as well as refining my manuscript for journal submission.
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Recommended APA Citation
Fung, A. S. (2018). Exploring Relational Ethics and Care: A Longitudinal Study of a Hong Kong Cellist's Marriage Disintegration and Identity Change. The Qualitative Report, 23(1), 12-28. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2018.2926