The qualitative analysis of open ended data collected as part of a large scale quantitative research project raises issues about the gendering of methodology and the nature of the relationship between researchers and the researched. While feminist critics have argued that quantitative research is impersonal and post-structuralist critics are concerned with heightened surveillance, this analysis of women's spontaneous writing from the Australian Longitudinal Women's Health Project suggests the possibility of a trusting relationship which despite or even because of its distant and confidential nature, may be for some women a source of emotional support, a feeling of belonging and feedback about their life progress. As such, the project itself may be a source of 'social support' and health benefit, despite its quantitative nature and normalising effect.
The TASA & SAANZ Joint Conference 2007. TASA & SAANZ Joint Conference Proceedings: Public Sociologies: Lessons and Trans-Tasman Comparisons (Auckland, New Zealand 4-7 December, 2007)