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Researching Conservative Groups: Rapport and Understanding across Moral and Political Boundaries

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This article explores whether it is possible to understand the perspectives of people with whom we find it difficult or impossible to empathise, because their moral and political views are very different to our own. Focusing on our dilemmas in carrying out qualitative research with conservative evangelicals and anti-abortion activists, we take issue with the assumption that understanding is connected with the presence of rapport and empathy in research interviews. This article argues instead that a reflexive approach, which considers researchers' orientations towards their subject and their respondents and their emotional journeys through the research process, will enable more comprehensive interpretation of our research material.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2008

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