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Approaching Bereavement Research with Heartfelt Positivity

Emotion and the Researcher: Sites, Subjectivities, and Relationships

ISBN: 978-1-78714-612-9, eISBN: 978-1-78714-611-2

Publication date: 23 August 2018


Purpose – This chapter critically engages with a positively oriented emotional reflexivity with the aim of improving inclusivity in bereavement research.

Methodology/Approach – The heartfelt positivity methodology intentionally creates positivity through the everyday practices of academic research. In this chapter, emotional reflexivity is guided by the heartfelt positivity methodology to identify and learn from collaborators’ emotions. It focuses on collaborators whose involvement in the academic community falls beyond that of the immediate research team at different stages of bereavement research.

Findings – The emotions of collaborators involved in bereavement research have been overlooked, yet their inclusion reveals a significant potential for the sanctioning of bereaved mothers’ potential participation in bereavement-focused research or breastmilk donation programmes. Key learnings that may be applied to conducting future bereavement research are (i) the potential for collaborators to also be bereaved parents (ii) the continued need to strive for the inclusion of bereaved parents in research and (iii) to extend the methodological principle of emotional reflexivity to include research collaborators when researching emotionally sensitive topics.

Originality/Value – This chapter argues that bereaved mothers’ knowledge and practices of thriving in hard times can either be fostered or derailed at different stages of the research cycle depending on which narratives frame human suffering. For researchers and collaborators, emotional reflexivity is crucial to inclusive research practices and knowledge translation.



Carroll, K. (2018), "Approaching Bereavement Research with Heartfelt Positivity", Loughran, T. and Mannay, D. (Ed.) Emotion and the Researcher: Sites, Subjectivities, and Relationships (Studies in Qualitative Methodology, Vol. 16), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 97-111.



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