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7 Pages

QUALITATIVE RESEARCH, APPROPRIATION OF THE ‘OTHER’ AND EMPOWERMENT

Anne Opie

The issues I want to explore in this essay have arisen in the context of my qualitative research into the everyday experiences of twenty-eight family caregivers caring for elderly confused spouses or relatives at home. 1 My interpretation of the interview data, derived from lengthy and unstructured interviews, has drawn extensively on feminist comment and research on caring in order to challenge conventional political and social knowledge about caring. Yet, in constructing an analysis which adequately represents the complexity of the experiences in which the interview texts are grounded, I have also become conscious of limitations in feminist interpretations. Although at one point they are liberatory because they open to inspection what has been previously hidden, they are also restrictive in the sense that they can appropriate the data to the researcher’s interests, so that other significant experiential elements which challenge or partially disrupt that interpretation may also be silenced.