The Impact of Working with Disturbing Secondary Data: Reading Suicide Files in a Coroner's Office

Fincham, Ben, Scourfield, Jonathon 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. ISSN 1049-7323

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Abstract

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 datawritten documents and photographsare 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
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: Ben Fincham
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:33
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2012 12:06
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/17069
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