Reflexivity: Doing Research with Women in a Mental health Care Facility
Reflexivity has been recognised as a crucial strategy in the knowledge generating process and applied in qualitative research to legitimate, validate and question research practices and representation, as well as evaluating the quality of qualitative research. Reflexivity in the social work literature have impacted in research and practice. However, the effect of researcher’s perspectives on the data collection and interpretation process by using reflexivity has not been examined in the mental health research in Malaysia. Thus, this paper aims to explore the role of methodological reflexivity in a qualitative research with Chinese women with mental health problems in a residential care setting in Malaysia. The researcher’s and participants’ interaction and experiences, as well as emotional context during interviews that affect the data interpretation and data collection process are discussed. Greater understanding on their experiences in the care centre has been generated by focusing on these women as an “abled-body” rather than people with disabilities. Recognition of the researcher’s feelings and experiences have enriched the research method and analysis, as well as informing the practice for social workers, health practitioners, and students who work with women with mental health problems.