It is often suggested that in carrying out research into the lives of LGBT people, researchers have an advantage if they share the same sexual orientation with their respondents - including greater access to respondents and the production of research accounts that perhaps have greater validity. However the process of doing research and writing up research is more complex than this suggests. In this article I seek to examine some of these assumptions in greater depth. A central (although not exclusive) concern of feminist debates is the extent to which the researcher's identity and experiences impact on the processes of doing research - and as such, the extent to which these should be made explicit. In examining some of these complexities, I draw upon these debates, the experiences of other researchers in the field of LGBT research and my own research examining the family lives of twenty lesbian parent families in the UK. I conclude that the ways in which the researcher may be positioned as an insider/outsider in research can be complex and these issues are particularly salient when choosing research topics to which the researcher has some level of personal and/or political commitment.
|Journal||Sociological Research Online|
|Publication status||Published - 21 Mar 2008|
- Hidden populations
- Lesbian parent families
- Qualitative research
- Research methodologies
- Sensitive research