Lived experience and discursive context: A twin focus

Article


Colahan, Mathew, Tunariu, A. and Dell, Pippa 2012. Lived experience and discursive context: A twin focus. Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin. 13 (1), pp. 48-57.
AuthorsColahan, Mathew, Tunariu, A. and Dell, Pippa
Abstract

In this paper we discuss the methodological framework of the first author’s PhD thesis in order to expose the thinking underpinning a dual focus methodology for a research programme which sets out to explore both the lived experience, and the socially constructed nature of ‘satisfaction’ in long-term, heterosexual relationships. The proposal is that these two distinct exploratory foci can be addressed by conducting two distinct qualitative analyses on a single body of narrative data generated via interviews with twelve people from the general population; using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and then using Focauldian Discourse Analysis (FDA). This approach presents a theoretical challenge as the two methodologies are grounded within different epistemologies. We propose that by adopting a critical realist position at the thesis level, rather than at the individual empirical level of the research, the epistemological assumptions of both methodologies can be maintained and the two foci can yield analytic insights alongside one another. By drawing on established hermeneutic theory, we propose that the interpretative stories generated from this dual focus approach can come together in potentially complementary ways and “bridg[e] the classical dichotomy between distanced explanation and close understanding” (Alvesson & Skoldberg, 2009, p.130) associated with FDA and IPA respectively. The current paper will present and discuss the proposed dual focus approach, addressing the benefits and challenges of conducting both an IPA and an FDA on the same data set. It will conclude by outlining pragmatic suggestions for undertaking a dual focus analysis, including managing the interview structure and process, and the phases of analysis. The intention is to contribute to the growing preoccupation within the field of qualitative research about the limitations of an exclusive focus on the role of language in shaping realities and experience (e.g., Willig, 2007).

JournalQualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin
Journal citation13 (1), pp. 48-57
ISSN2044-0820
Year2012
PublisherBritish Psychological Society
Accepted author manuscript
Web address (URL)https://shop.bps.org.uk/publications/publication-by-series/qualitative-methods-in-psychology-bulletin/qmip-bulletin-issue-13-spring-2012.html
Publication dates
Print2012
Publication process dates
Deposited22 Jan 2019
Copyright information© 2012 British Psychological Society. This is a pre-publication version of the following article: Colahan, Mathew and Tunariu, Aneta and Dell, Pippa (2012) ‘Lived experience and discursive context: A twin focus’, Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin, 13(1), pp. 48-57.
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