Study Critique of Gender, Religion, and the Experience of Suffering: A Case Study- Helen K. Black By Sarah Padgett

Research Question:

  • How does her story of suffering reflect the stories of other elders in our study?
  • Focused on identity and assault on that identity through the idea of suffering
  • The purpose of suffering

Research was identified as an ethnographic case study.

Methods:
  • Three interview sessions- each two hours long
  • Letter of consent
  • Interview based on open ended questions
  • Second interview asked specifically about suffering- asked for a moment in the participant's life where she experienced suffering
  • Third interview focused on suffering in relation to health and spirituality, and how suffering played a role in the participant's life as well as the purpose of suffering
Sample of Questions:
  • What do you think is the purpose of suffering?
  • What is the meaning of your suffering, in your view? Suffering in general?
  • How do you resolve suffering?
  • Do you consider yourself a religious or spiritual person?

Researcher did not play a role in the narrative but did engage the participant in order to gather descriptive and thorough responses

Analysis:
  • Researcher used gross-level sorting (distinguishes codes and identifies themes in the narrative), as well as fine-grained analysis (detection of meaning with phrases or sentences).
  • Spoke with other researchers about the appropriate codes to assign to the narrative
Merits:
  • Story about an elderly disabled woman who described her experience growing up- family, church, disability, losing her husband
  • Disability was not a form of suffering but rather helped her develop personal tools
  • Came to reject the label of crippled by overcoming the obstacles the participant faced, both mentally and physically
  • Participant did not describe disability as a form of suffering but rather sexual assault
  • Idea of identity in regards to the participant's disability- in contrast to the value society places on people who have disabilities
Critics:
  • Does not show the stories of other elders in the study or how her story compares to others in the study
  • Not a useful case study because the experience cannot be generalizable to a larger phenomenon because suffering is different for each individual
  • Does not talk about how the participant was gathered- analysis and methods were vague
  • Does not talk about how the narrative plays into the main research question of the study
  • Difficult to see the big picture with just one narrative and interview
  • Did not talk much about gender other than a power dynamic in the Catholic church
  • Problem with the research question and the questions asked during the interview
  • Was not an extremely descriptive narrative and used only the interview
  • Confusion between what was the original study and what was the case study
  • More of a critical study than ethnographic

Credits:

Created with images by elounge - "display road stops" • Witizia - "hand elderly woman wrinkles" • Espressolia - "wheelchair disability accident" • ikkio - "oldnicetalking" • andreas160578 - "church interior inside" • sylvar - "Unisex restroom sign" • pompi - "the rosary bible the scriptures"

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