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The impact of working with disturbing secondary data: reading suicide files in a coroner's office

Fincham, Ben, Scourfield, Jonathan bryn ORCID: and Langer, Susanne 2008. The impact of working with disturbing secondary data: reading suicide files in a coroner's office. Qualitative Health Research 18 (6) , pp. 853-862. 10.1177/1049732307308945

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The article discusses the effects on the researcher of reading disturbing secondary data (defined here as evidence gathered by someone other than the researcher). The case study is a qualitative sociological autopsy of suicide, and the secondary data—written documents and photographs—are all from case files in a British coroner's office. Following ethnographic detail about the research setting and research process, there is discussion of the diverse secondary data sources in these files, particularly in relation to the impact on the researcher. Some general observations are made about emotion in the research process and potential strategies for responding to emotion. The authors locate their responses to reading about suicides within the broader context of the social processing of death and distress, and also consider whether emotional reactions to data have any analytical purchase.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Uncontrolled Keywords: documents research methods death and dying case records emotion
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1049-7323
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 08:52

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