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Documents as 'risky' sources of data: a reflection on social and emotional positioning- a research note

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Social Research Methodology
Issue number3
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)377-384
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date18/06/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


As units of analysis, documents are often seen as unproblematic, easily accessed sources of data. This research note discusses and reflects on a research project where documents were not easy to access and instead prompted significant negotiation, contained disturbing information and images and had an emotional impact on the researcher. A reflexive account is provided in this paper, which draws upon feminist methodological theory and explores the researcher’s experiences of using documents in research. The paper concludes that documents should not always be categorised as a low risk data source, rather issues such as access difficulties, ethical dilemmas and potential emotional harm, should also be considered.