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Researching girls and violence: facing the dilemmas of fieldwork

Batchelor, Susan and Burman, Michele (2001) Researching girls and violence: facing the dilemmas of fieldwork. British Journal of Criminology, 41 (3). pp. 443-459. ISSN 0007-0955

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This paper explores key methodological and analytical issues encountered in an exploratory study of teenage girls' views and experiences of violence, carried out in Scotland. Researching the ways in which girls conceptualize, experience and use violence raises a number of dilemmas due in part to the sensitive nature of the research topic, and the age and gender of those taking part. Drawing on feminist debates about objectivity, the role of the researcher, power relationships in the production of knowledge, and representation, this article highlights the difficulties of adapting such principles to the day-to-day practicalities of conducting empirical research on girls and violence. It shows how the research itself has been enhanced by having to engage with and work through this complexity.