Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Social Anthropology research into birth experiences

Posted on: November 28, 2010

Dear Potential Research Informant

I am an MRes (Master of Research) Social Anthropology student at Brunel University and I’m hoping to carry out some research for my Masters dissertation, which I hope to further into my PhD.

This research is based around women’s experiences of childbirth. I hope to find out what experiences women have had, how much choice they had in making those experiences happen, what they enjoyed or not about their birth experience and what they may change about the experience if they have another child. These are general areas that I would like to cover, however this research, as it is a study in Anthropology (the study of humanity) I hope to be able to have general and open conversations with a variety of people.

I hope to be able to have informal conversations with you about your experiences. Although I will have ideas of topics I want to cover (as above) I hope to follow your lead, and talk about whatever you feel comfortable with, and want to share with me. I hope this research will illustrate what experiences women have during childbirth, and how they feel about them and be a medium for these experiences to be voiced within Anthropology, but also the wider public. I feel this research could make a real difference to policy surrounding childbirth, which is why I need your help to carry it out.

There are no right or wrong answers to this type of research, and this is in no way similar to questionnaires or market research you may have been asked to be involved in previously. This is not a study based on a ‘ticking a box’. Instead, it is based on content. Once I have spoken to women about their experiences I will look over my research as a whole and see if there are any patterns in experiences.

Anything I am told will be kept in complete confidence. I will, when writing up my notes, change names so that people are not recognisable. I will hopefully be able to tape record conversations, but only if those I am speaking to are happy with me doing so. When I’m listening back to them they will not be heard by anyone else, but they will make my note taking of the conversations easier, as I will be able to re-listen to what was said and then write up about the conversation.

I would be extremely grateful if you would be willing to talk to me. If there are any questions then please feel free to ask me – please email and your email will be forwarded.

Hopefully I may be speaking to you soon




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