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Qualitative research and deliberative methods: promise or peril?

Evans, Robert John and Kotchetkova, Inna 2009. Qualitative research and deliberative methods: promise or peril? Qualitative Research 9 (5) , pp. 625-643. 10.1177/1468794109343630

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This article explores the relationship between qualitative research and public engagement with science and technology by critically evaluating a deliberative exercise incorporating several aspects of contemporary science studies. The project used in-depth interviews, reconvened focus groups and a roundtable workshop to simulate ‘upstream’ public engagement by investigating how patients, carers and lay citizens evaluated different treatment options for Type One diabetes. By comparing how these treatments were discussed in focus groups and a roundtable workshop we show how the choice of research method makes a significant difference not just to the data collected but also to the role of the researcher in analysing those data. In particular, we note how deliberative methods erase the traditional role of the qualitative researcher as an analyst who synthesizes and interprets data, leaving them as little more than a facilitator who enables citizens to synthesize and interpret experience in their own terms. In reflecting on this outcome we suggest that an unintended consequence of citizen empowerment might be the disempowerment of the academy.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Centre for the Study of Knowledge Expertise and Science (KES)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: deliberative research; diabetes; focus groups; medical technologies; public participation; role of social scientists in research
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 1468-7941
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2017 04:17

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