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Durham University

Department of Sociology

Sociology Department Staff

Publication details for Dr Kimberly Jamie

Rathbone, Adam Pattison & Jamie, Kimberly (2016). Transferring from Clinical Pharmacy Practice to Qualitative Research: Questioning Identity, Epistemology and Ethical Frameworks. Sociological Research Online 21(2): 4.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Researcher identity can present methodological and practical, as well as epistemological and ethical tensions, in sociological research. Identity management, such as the presentation of the self during a research interview, can have significant effects on the research encounter and data collected. 'White coat syndrome', the disjointed interaction between clinicians and patients arising from unequal power and expertise, can occur in research encounters. For clinicians engaged in social science research, identity management can be particularly challenging given the added potential for 'white coat syndrome'. Drawing on the experiences of a registered pharmacist undertaking qualitative research, we discuss the epistemological transition many clinicians go through when embarking on sociological research. We suggest that identity management is not just a matter of optimising data collection but also has ethical tensions. Drawing on Goffman's social role theory, we discuss the epistemic tensions between researchers' dual identities through positivist and constructivist frames, discussing the professional and legal implications, as well as the methodological practicalities of identity negotiation. We discuss conflicting professional and regulatory ethical frameworks, and ethics committees' negotiation of intervention and elicitation during research encounters and the conflict in managing professional, legal and clinical responsibilities whilst adhering to expected social research conventions.