Emotion work in qualitative research: Interviewing parents about the neonatal care experience.
Abstract Background; ‘Emotion work’ is a term used to describe the emotional responses that may arise in qualitative research exploring recall of difficult experiences. The experiences of parents within neonatal care can raise sensitive issues during the interview process which may lead to emotional responses. Aim: To provide a reflection of an interpretive study involving narrative interviews with parents of preterm neonates, in order to inform researchers about the potential emotive issues that may arise in such work. Discussion: Reflection on interviews with parents of preterm neonates revealed areas for discussion relating to: emotion work, the role of the researcher, emotional connections and empathic interviewing. Consideration of these areas highlights the importance of reflexivity for researchers. Implications for practice: Qualitative researchers undertaking narrative interviews should be prepared for emotive issues that arise and recognise the need for emotional intelligence. Achieving a balance between being an empathic, emotionally aware interviewer and remaining objective can be challenging. There are a range of strategies researchers can use to address this balance and to manage the emotion work involved in research of this nature.