Episode 50: The Qualitative Research Series - What’s left in the ruins? Post qualitative research with Dr Jenny Setchell


Welcome to another episode of The Words Matter Podcast.

As usual I want to thank all of you that are supporting the show via Patreon, it really makes a difference - so thanks again.

So after seven episodes exploring qualitative research and the value of it’s methodologies and methods, it’s now time to dismantle all of that and talk about everything that’s wrong with qualitative research and why we should move beyond it!

I’m only half joking….because on this episode of the Qualitative Research Series I’m speaking with Dr jenny Setchell about a counter movement against qualitative research in the form of Post Qualitative Research.

Jenny is an NHMRC Research Fellow in Physiotherapy at the University of Queensland Australia. Her research interests include post-structuralist critical perspectives on healthcare and she has been published extensively across health journals (see Jenny's research here).

Her PhD was in psychology and focussed on weight stigma in physiotherapy. Jenny is experienced in a range of qualitative and post-qualitative research methodologies and she is a founding member, and co-chairs the executive committee of the international Critical Physiotherapy Network. She is also a member of the International Society for Critical Health Psychology.

 So on this episode we speak about

  • Post-qual research as a way of re-thinking the reasoning and thinking which has underpinned the practice of qualitative research (see key paper here on post-qual by Simone Fullagar).
  • How Post-qual challenges the humanist tradition of qualitative research (see here for seminal paper on post-qual here by Elizabeth St. Pierre)
  • The idea of thinking with theory which post-qual strongly advocates (see book here in the same name by Alecia Jackson)
  • How post-qual draws inspiration from critical post-humanist debates around how humanness has been taught around dualistic ways of thinking.
  • How post-qual strongly rejects any theory–method divide that reduces qualitative methodology to a matter of technique (see paper here by Jenny's former PhD student Tim Barlott on the dissident interview which had a post-qual tone).
  • How post qual is concerned with contravening what has become normal, routine and expected in qualitative research so that the approaches to research inquiry align with post-theories.
  • What post qual has to say about data, methods, analysis.
  • What can qualitative researchers take away from post qualitative research and whether we need to take ‘all of it’ and jump ship completely or that there are some useful way of reflecting on perhaps changing the way that we think about and practice qualitative research.

I absolutely loved talking to Jenny. She’s had such an interesting and diverse career, and this comes through in the cool, gentle yet confident way she talks about post qualitative research; who’s arguments could shake the most dedicated qualitative researcher. But there was nothing fanatical about Jenny; her balanced view of post-qual and how she feels that it can sit alongside more traditional qualitative and quantitative research approaches was just brilliant.

Find Jenny on Twitter @JenSetchell

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