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Abstract

Young men are underrepresented in Australian research on family formation, especially young men who are nonmarital fathers, and are not university educated. In this pilot project, an interdisciplinary research team (demography, sociology, and gender studies) based in Australia set out to design an approach that would engage this particular group of young men on the topic of family formation. We decided to employ a nontraditional research method (which we call scripts) in order to engage young men indirectly on this sensitive issue. This article does not report on what we found; rather, our focus is on gender dynamics involving the research team’s imaginings of masculinity in the research process. We highlight and interrogate the gendered and heteronormative assumptions we made in the research design, anticipating that our experience can inform future research on masculinity and family formation.

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Thesis
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John Law argues that methods don't just describe social realities but are also involved in creating them. The implications of this argument are highly significant. If this is the case, methods are always political, and it raises the question of what kinds of social realities we want to create. Most current methods look for clarity and precision. It is usually said that only poor research produces messy findings, and the idea that things in the world might be fluid, elusive, or multiple is unthinkable. Law's startling argument is that this is wrong and it is time for a new approach. Many realities, he says, are vague and ephemeral. If methods want to know and help to shape the world, then they need to reinvent themselves and their politics to deal with mess. That is the challenge. Nothing less will do.
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Researcher-Researched Relationship in Qualitative Research: Shifts in Positions and Researcher Vulnerability
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  • L Magnussen
  • R Tveit Sekse
  • Å Lunde
  • T Jacobsen
  • A Blystad
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