Emotional Aspects of Conducting Qualitative Research on Psychological Topics

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In this special section, 5 experienced qualitative researchers who study emotion laden topics (health care professionals who treat cancer, women at end of life, sexual assault victims’ experiences with the criminal justice system, the mental health of sexual minority parents, and African American women suffering from infertility) explore the ways in which their own emotional responses to their research topics and participants affected them personally and professionally. This exploration is dual and bidirectional in that we examine both the ways in which our participants and topics elicit emotional responses in us and the ways in which our own emotional and personal development affected the way we conducted research, and responded to our participants. Together these 5 papers challenge the reader to think critically about a vast array of subjects, lives, and realities. These include the qualitative research trajectory and the role of emotions and the body in our projects, about how, why, and whether we choose to document these emotional and bodily processes in our final publications, and finally, about what an inclusive, embodied, emotional, and integrated field of psychology might look like if we demanded a more holistic approach to doing and documenting the messy realities of our research in our academic journals.

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