Journal Article

Developing a Sensitive Practitioner Research Methodology for Studying the Impact of Child Sexual Abuse

Andrew Durham

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 32, issue 4, pages 429-442
Published in print June 2002 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online June 2002 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Developing a Sensitive Practitioner Research Methodology for Studying the Impact of Child Sexual Abuse

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This paper outlines the methodology of a research study which used unstructured life‐story interviewing to explore the impact of child sexual abuse on the lives of seven young men aged between 15 and 24 (see Durham, 1999). In approaching this research, a theoretical relationship was established between ethnography (particularly a life‐story approach), feminist praxis, anti‐oppressive research and social work practitioner research. Researching experiences of child sexual abuse is stressful for all concerned, and requires a methodology which establishes a safe environment, which facilitates an expression and discussion of painful and fearful feelings and experiences, and provides appropriate on‐going support. In setting up this environment and providing support, before, during and after the data collection phase, the value and importance of social work practitioner research was established. The potential influence of this on the nature of data collected was acknowledged, both as a potential cost, in terms of objectivity, but also as a benefit, in creating a climate for the production of sensitive knowledge. It is concluded that a life‐story practitioner research approach, incorporating the principles of anti‐oppressive research practice, is an appropriate methodology for the study of the experience and impact of child sexual abuse, producing knowledge of substantial depth.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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