Cardiff
National Centre for Research Methods
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A Qualitative Sociological Autopsy Study of Gendered Suicide

Principal Investigator: Dr Jonathan Scourfield
Researchers: Dr Ben Fincham and Dr Susanne Langer

This is a qualitative sociological autopsy study of gendered suicide. The project will be used to demonstrate the ways in which public data (media accounts), documentary data (coroners' records) and research-generated data (biographically situated interviews) can each be treated as qualitative evidence to critically engage with and make sense of social processes and phenomena.

The methodological focus is on:

  1. The application of multiple modes of qualitative data in analytical combination. The aim here is to develop methods for the construction of integrative bricolages of diverse qualitative evidence.
  2. The innovative use of qualitative inquiry to evidence and understand difficult 'events' with/for policy makers, practitioners, participants and the general public. There will be particular attention paid to engaging academics and policy makers who are more familiar with working with quantitative evidence in the application and understanding of qualitative data.

    Project Start Date: May 2005
To date, ideas from this project have been presented to:
  • The ESRC Methods Festival 2006 - to view this presentation click here
  • The European Sociological Association Qualitative Methods Research Network conference 2006
  • The 2006 European Symposium on Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour (as part of a symposium on qualitative suicide research).
  • The Association of Social Anthropologists - Anthropology of Britain Network Workshop at Newcastle Universtiy on 12 January 2007. Paper presented: Making sense of messy deaths: reflections on the use of qualitative research in the study of suicide.
  • The annual support meeting of Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS), April 2007.
  • The Irish Association of Social Workers' annual conference, April 2007.
  • Psychiatrists' research seminar at Whitchurch Hospital Cardiff, May 2007
  • ESRC Centre for Social and Cultural Change's 3rd Annual Conference 'Re-thinking the cultural economy' 5-7 September 2007, University of Manchester.
  • 2nd interdisciplinary conference on Gender and Child Welfare, University of York, 19th September 2007.
  • Institute of Anthropology and Ethnography, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, 27th September, 2007.
  • SOCPOR (Centre for Social, Cultural and Postcolonial Research with Sociology), Joint Seminar Series 20, Keele University, 29th November 2007. Title: Personhood and agency in inquest files returning a verdict of suicide. http://www.keele.ac.uk/research/lpj/SOCPOR/abstracts.htm

PUBLICATIONS

Shiner, M., Scourfield, J., Fincham, B. and Langer, S. (2009) When things fall apart: Gender and suicide across the life course. Social Science and Medicine, 69: 738-746.

Langer, S., Scourfield, J. and Fincham, B. (2008) Documenting the quick and the dead: a study of suicide files in a coroner’s office. Sociological Review. 56 (2): 293-308.

Fincham, B., Scourfield, J. and Langer, S. (2008) The impact of working with disturbing secondary data: reading suicide files in a coroner’s office. Qualitative Health Research. 18, 6: 853-862

Fincham, B., Scourfield, J. and Langer, S. (2007) Documentary data: single medium, multiple modes? Qualitative Researcher, 5:2-4.

Scourfield, J. (2005) Suicidal masculinities, Sociological Research On-line, 10, 2: <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/10/2/scourfield.html>

Qualiti Working Paper (Qualiti/WPS/002) - The emotional impact of working with disturbing secondary data.
Ben Fincham, Brighton University
Jonathan Scourfield, Cardiff University
Susanne Langer, Manchester Business School
March 2007

Qualiti Working Paper (Qualiti/WPS/004) - Documents of life and death: Identities beyond the life course in coroners' suicide files
Dr Susanne Langer, University of Manchester
Dr Jonathan Scourfield, Cardiff University
Dr Ben Fincham, Brighton University
November 2007

Qualiti Methods Briefing Number 1 - Rethinking Documentary Research: Multimodality, Dual Paradigms, and the emotional context [new window, 72kb]
Dr Jonathan Scourfield, Cardiff University
Dr Ben Fincham, Brighton University
Dr Susanne Langer, University of Manchester
May 2008

Qualiti Research Findings - A Qualitative Sociological Autopsy of Gendered Suicide [new window, 68kb]
Dr Jonathan Scourfield, Cardiff University
Dr Ben Fincham, Brighton University
Dr Susanne Langer, University of Manchester
Michael Shiner, London School of Economics and Political Studies
May 2008

 

EVENTS

Cardiff University hosted a seminar in July 2007 entitled ’Qualitative Research and Suicide’. This was a joint activity with Lancaster University. For further details click here.

LINKS

Jonathan Scourfield is also involved in an ESRC-funded and QUALTI-affiliated project 'The cultural context of youth suicide', along with Katrina Roen of Lancaster University and Liz McDermott of York University.

The American Association of Suicidology

The University of Oxford Centre for Suicide Research

The Samaritans

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

 

ESRC National Centre for Research Methods
ESRC - Economic & Social Research Council