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Facebook as a platform for collecting women's birth stories: Supporting emotional connections between researchers and participants

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number100863
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/02/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Emotion, Space and Society
Number of pages10
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date16/12/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper extends debate on the use of social networking sites in social science research, specifically focusing on their role in creating ‘emotionally connected’ research spaces. Drawing on the authors' experiences of using a closed Facebook group as a platform for collecting women's ‘birth stories’, we explore to potential of Facebook to support the transcendence of traditional researcher/participant relations and empower participants through creating something akin to a ‘Community of Practice’. The project also contributed to a process of inter and intra-personal self-care, which, as a research team, we recognise as an important driver of our research agendas. We acknowledge that the virtual cannot be all-inclusive but conclude that this methodological approach has generated both a rich dataset and a series of emotions for researchers and participants that added value to the research process. We also argue that this approach captured a greater depth of experience and diversity of voice than would have been the case if we had chosen to use traditional face-to-face methods. We call for future research to focus on better understanding some of the challenges related to the appropriateness of Facebook as a platform for hearing the voices of particular socio-cultural groups.