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Lived Experience, Reflexivity, and Research on Perpetrators of Interpersonal Violence

by Jane Gilgun

When conducting phenomenological studies, researchers seek to understand the lived experience of research participants. This goal presents special challenges when the topic is the meanings of violence to perpetrators. The purpose of this article is to describe the transformations of a feminist woman’s understandings of the meanings of violence to male perpetrators of interpersonal violence in a long-term life history interview project. This article, therefore, is a case study of reflexivity in action. The methodological lessons learned may be instructive to other researchers interested in phenomenological research on interpersonal violence and other sensitive topics.

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