Do Qualitative Researchers Experience Vicarious Trauma? And, does it Matter?
Dana C. Branson, PhD, LCSW; Monica Bixby Radu, PhD

Prior research suggests that social scientists may use qualitative research to explore the experiences of marginalized groups of individuals whose experiences may be neglected in quantitative work. Through the interview process, qualitative researchers often listen to participantsā€˜ accounts of traumatic life events, and empathy is a critical skill for qualitative researchers to possess. Consequently, it can be argued that empathetic engagement with victims of trauma may have long-term cumulative negative effects on researchers in the form of vicarious trauma. While prior research suggests that therapists, social workers, and other clinicians who work with victims or survivors of trauma may experience vicarious trauma, current research neglects to consider if qualitative researchers are also at risk. More research is needed to examine whether researchers engaged in qualitative work experience vicarious trauma, and if they do, further investigation into the possible consequences and implications for future research.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jssw.v6n1a3