Challenging Methodological Traditions: Research by Email
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Engaging human service practitioners as partners in research about sensitive areas of front-line work can be difficult for a range of reasons. Time constraints, geographic limitations, trust in the research relationship, issues of privacy, and fear of professional judgment are only some of the barriers that researchers need to overcome in order to assist workers to become involved in a reflective process about areas of practice. This article outlines the development of a new method of qualitative data collection designed to aid the reflective process and assist practitioners to engage in an ongoing dialogue about complex ethical dilemmas they had experienced in relation to their work with clients, colleagues, managers and organisations. These ethical dilemmas occurred in the contexts of health, mental health, child protection, work with young people, community work, disability, family violence, aged care and research. This is the story of how the concept of Email-Facilitated Reflective Dialogue was born. It is the story of how Email-Facilitated Reflective Dialogue became a method of data generation and a tool for reflection on issues of ethics, how twenty social workers throughout Australia experienced it as a reflective medium, and how we, as partners in research, experienced and evaluated the process.
The Qualitative Report
Copyright 2003 Nova Southeastern University and the author[s]. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.