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‘It’s a Family Affair’ Researching with Families

June 23, 2017

Personal reflexivity is a dynamic process involving self-questioning and self-awareness, offering researchers opportunities to unpack their assumptions and expectations. Making the shift from ‘expert’ to ‘novice’ can be a disorienting as well as a liberating process for existing practitioners and/or parents, when conducting research with families. However, there is an analytical cost if the interplay between the personal and the research process is not considered.

This inter-disciplinary postgraduate conference will bring together postgraduate students, academics and practitioners engaged in research with families (broadly defined) and/or who are conducting research while with family themselves. Issues of subjectivity, positionality and power as they relate to carrying out research with families and/or researching while mothering/fathering will be explored with the aim of opening up dissucssion in order to help students interrogate these issues and tensions within their own research.

The day will be facilitated by a range of learning opportunities enabling students to engage in dialogue, knowledge exchange and methodological exploration, where current and proposed ideas can be presented through a combination of invited speakers, panel discussions and oral and poster presentations. Time and space throughout the day will also allow for networking opportunities.


Invited Speaker

Dr Geraldine Brady (Coventry University) | Public/private – personal/professional: reflections on an on-going entangled research journey with children, young people and families

Whether explicitly acknowledging it or not, qualitative research to some extent crosses the boundary between public/private and professional/personal as researcher identity cannot be detached from personal identity. In research which focuses on the worlds of women, children and family – often characterised as ‘private’ rather than ‘public’ – there may be more challenges for our ‘professional’ selves, in that the issues that we are exploring may be more likely to provoke emotional or complex responses, both from us and from our participants. Drawing on examples from research I have carried out I will highlight the influence of the personal in research in various settings and contexts, raising some questions and thoughts for the day in thinking about the role of the researcher in the knowledge that is produced about children, young people and families. Revealing some of the challenges when the personal intersects with the professional adds to insight about the (real or imagined) public/private, personal/professional research boundary.

Geraldine’s work takes a critical sociological approach to researching social issues. She has over 15 years experience in managing and delivering research and evaluation projects and her approach to qualitative research draws on feminist methodology, with a particular focus on participatory methods and creative, arts based means of engagement. She has led on research projects commissioned by a range of funders, and also held grant funded research awards. Geraldine has recently completed NSPCC funded research which explored the knowledge and confidence of social workers in cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation and is also researching young people’s views of sexual consent, coercion and exploitation (with Dr Pam Lowe, Aston University). Most recently Geraldine, Paul Bywaters and six partner universities have been awarded a substantial Nuffield Foundation grant to continue to explore links between deprivation and children’s chances of coming into contact with children’s services, extending their original mixed methodology to the four UK countries. Geraldine co-convenes the West Midlands Medical Sociology Group and has jointly edited the 2015 Sociology of Health and Illness monograph, ‘Children, health and well-being: policy debates and lived experience’. She is a visiting Fellow at Stockholm University, a Board member of Coventry Women’s Voices and a Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Ethics Committee member; she currently supervises six doctoral students.

Other topics included during the day

  • Practitoner Status as Researcher Identity
  • Negotiating Boundaries in Research with Families
  • Families in the Field
  • ‘Phd’ Surgery Session
  • ‘insider / outsider’ Open Discussion
  • Panel Q&A


All attendees are encouraged to bring posters detailing any previous/ongoing/future research with them, to contribute to a lunchtime poster presentation.

Booking: ****Places are limited and booking is required. If you find you are no longer able to attend the event please let the organisers know as soon as you can so that your place may be offered to someone on the waiting list.**** Please book online here

Lunch and refreshments will be provided on the day. At the end of the day we would like to invite you to join us for drinks at The Woodman pub, on a self-funded basis.


June 23, 2017
Event Category:


Curzon 416
Cardigan Street
Birmingham , B4 7BD United Kingdom
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