With a little help from my colleagues: Notes on emotional support in a qualitative longitudinal research project

Agata Lisiak, Łukasz Krzyżowski

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This chapter explores the strategies and tactics employed by researchers when dealing with emotionally challenging situations, both in the field and in academia in general. Methodology/Approach – It draws on a qualitative longitudinal project investigating how recent Polish migrants from cities that are rather homog-enous in terms of ethnicity and religion make sense of, and come to terms with, the much greater diversity they encounter in German and British cities. The project adopts a mixed-methods approach that includes social network analysis, focus groups, creative methods and in-depth interviews. Findings – Moving beyond the inside–outsider binary in qualitative research, the authors reflect on their management of conflicting feelings about what happens in research situations. The authors discuss interview situations they found particularly emotionally challenging and the different ways they supported each other during and after fieldwork, for instance, when faced with situations in which research participants say things that are racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, xenophobic, classist or misogynist. They reflect on their use of electronic media, especially email and messenger applications, as tools which not only allow them to unpack the emotions that emerge in fieldwork, but also enable them to collaboratively reflect on their own positionalities in the field. Originality/Value – The chapter argues that face-to-face and virtual interactions with colleagues can create spaces of care, self-care and solidarity. These relational spaces can form integral support systems for researchers and help them to deal with both the emotionality of social-science research and the wider emotional labour of academic work.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmotion and the Researcher
Subtitle of host publicationSites, Subjectivities, and Relationships
EditorsTracey Loughran, Dawn Mannay
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78714-611-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-78714-612-9
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2018

Publication series

NameStudies in Qualitative Methodology
ISSN (Print)1042-3192


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