Childcare choices and voices: using interpreted narratives and thematic meaning-making to analyse mothers’ life histories

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper focuses on the methodology of a study that asked what factors English mothers of very young babies consider when making employment decisions and childcare choices, and sought their views on the idea of carers in day care settings ‘loving’ their children. After a characterisation of life historical study, a four-staged process of analysis demonstrates how meaning was made from data created with six mothers. The discussion ‘voices’ their stories through excerpts from their expressions of emotion. The conclusion acknowledges insights generated into the dilemmas of mothers’ choices, but importantly points up how the careful listening and critical attending required by life historical study themselves generate stories that ‘go awry’ to reveal something of personal and of social importance. The paper concludes that using life story methods is a difficult process which may create discomfort for researcher and ‘researched’ long after the study is finished.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Pages (from-to)850-876
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Volume27
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2013

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