Beyond positionality: the role and impact of researcher emotion in the research process

Monica Partridge Room E07, University of Nottingham, University Park
Wednesday 10th July 2024 (09:30-16:30)
The event is free, but registration is a must. For more information, please contact
Registration URL
Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Science

Workshop summary

The workshop has been designed to explore and reflect on the role and impact of researcher emotion on the research process.  While it is now commonplace in publications to report care-full research designs that take into consideration participant needs and reflect on researcher positionality, researcher emotion is often left out of this. Similarly, research ethics processes focus on participant safety and wellbeing while the emotional impact on the researcher tends not to be addressed.  However, many sociological research topics (arguably all sociological topics) deal with sensitive and emotive issues such as health and illness, death and dying, migration, sexuality, bodies, and kinship to name just a few. 

Engagement with such topics can and does have an emotional impact on the researcher whether positive negative or somewhere in between.  It is this emotional affect and the consequent impact on the research process that we are interested in exploring in this workshop.  Our speakers will discuss current sociological literature addressing researcher emotion, will draw on their own experiences, will offer a way forward and will encourage you to do the same. Building on momentum from the workshop we hope to develop a researcher emotions network to support researchers and encourage delegates to be involved in the co-production of this.

The workshop will open with an introduction and overview of the sociological literature to address researcher emotion.  This will be delivered by the workshop convenors (Victoria Cluley, Pru Hobson-West, Kat Salter, Elisabetta Zontini and Elena Genova – all based at The School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham)

This workshop is funded by Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness, and supported by three of the School of Sociology and Social Policy's research centres: Wellbeing, Health and Social Care Research (WHSCR) CentreIdentities, Citizenship, Equalities and Migration Centre, and Institute for Science and Society.


Dr Laura Mauldin and Dr Hazel Marzetti


The first session of the day will be delivered by Dr Laura Mauldin who will talk about her ethnographic experience of exploring kinship care, the emotional impact of this and her forthcoming book where she develops the ethics of care to include researchers.

After lunch Dr Hazel Marzetti will deliver a creative session where delegates will be encouraged to reflect on their own emotions and how they are implicated in the research process.

The workshop will close with an open discussion focused on the co-production of a researcher emotion network. Below is a draft programme for the event: 


Arrival and networking time

N/A but convenors will meet and greet


Welcome and event overview






Break for refreshments



Showcase – how to acknowledge and work with researcher emotion in research addressing the sociology of health and illness.

Laura Mauldin





Arts based workshop to consider the role and impact of researcher emotion research experience

Hazel Marzetti


Open discussion

Facilitated by convenors

Will include refreshments





School of Sociology and Social Policy

Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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