9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN13 Sociology of Families and Intimate Lives

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Timescapes Building II, Auditório B1.04

Analysing Multiple Perspectives in Qualitative Longitudinal Research with Families

It is not uncommon in qualitative research with families to explore the views of more than family member; yet doing so raises many epistemological, methodological and ethical questions. This paper will draw on our experiences of interpreting qualitative accounts from children and parents as part of the Timescapes "Work and Family Lives" project; a qualitative longitudinal study designed to explore the ways families negotiate their work and family lives over time. The data have been generated through two methods of interviewing - individual interviews (waves 1 and 3) and family group interviews (wave 2). In this paper we will present reflections on the process of making sense of the contradictions, gaps, silences, and shared stories, between the multiple accounts offered by children and parents. This is a challenging analytic task and involves a fluid shifting between viewing the accounts as individual´s stories and as coming from their particular standpoint (for example child/parent) while at the same time trying to make sense of the dynamics within and between accounts. For qualitative longitudinal research the challenge is even greater because we not only have multiple accounts within a family group but also across time, and in the case of this project, generated by different methods. We will illustrate the discussion of these issues through reference to data from the project and in doing so we hope to offer greater transparency around the ways that researchers deal with these challenges.