Understanding a Battered Woman’s Experience via Qualitative Research

“Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once”- William Shakespeare

In Lea Kacen’s account of battered women, it was appropriate for her to utilize the use of phenomenological studies. It was appropriate because the phenomenological philosophy is to understand another person’s experiences. Most people are defined by their lives and what they have done with them. Through the use of Super codes, Kacen has demonstrated the latest method of analyzing a person’s life stories.

Qualitative research refers to a variety of analytic procedures with the intention of collecting and authenticating social phenomena in a systematically and descriptive manner. This type of research does not consist of one single method. It consists of many different types of methods that are all analyzing something and are performed systematic fashion. The purpose of qualitative research is to adequately interpret social phenomena. In regards to Kacen’s article, the goal of using qualitative research is to describe and explain physical and mental abuse in terms of it’s meaning in the lives of people living in their specific social context.

There are many different types of qualitative research. For example, there is what is called a Biographical Study. In a biographical study, the individuals and their experiences are described in detail. Most biographical study participants have either experienced something fantastically great or have suffered something disastrous. In this article’s case, and in the case of these seven battered women, they would be appropriate for a biographical study because of the abuse they suffered.

Another type of study is called Phenomenological. This type of study is most appropriate for Kacen. The purpose of a phenomenological study is to describe the meaning of the lived experiences for several individuals about a particular phenomenon. Kacen will attempt to find common themes that attach themselves to all or most of the descriptions of the phenomenon, enabling the researcher to construct a picture of its true structure.

Phenomenology may also be considered a human science method. It may be considered a human science method because it is searching for human meaning. Strangers did not attack the women described by Kacen. People who loved them attacked them. In phenomenological inquiry, the following items may be examined: distinguishing various traditions or orientations, probing different sources of meaning, understanding methodological attitudes, using empirical methods and reflection, and the consequences of human survival.

Another type of study called Ethnographic is a description and interpretation of a cultural group or social group. The goal of the researcher is to observe learned patterns of behavior, language, customs, and ways of life. The researcher also becomes immersed in the day-to-day life of the participants. The final product is typically a narrative form of writing detailing the inner cultural and social lives of people. This type of study would not have been appropriate for Kacen. It would not have been appropriate because Kacen would not have been present for the beatings and abuse these seven women experienced. Most men would not abuse their spouses or loved ones in the company of strangers. Additionally, it would be unethical for Kacen to experience such violence and not report it to the proper authorities.

The use of Critical Theory is another type of research. The purpose of using critical theory is to improve the human condition. Using critical theory research is equivalent to believing that people can change their own lives and have the power to do it. Had Kacen attempted this type of research, she would have tried to gather knowledge using technical, practical, and emancipatory inquiry. In technical inquiry, Kacen would try to predict the nature of men battering women. This would be a hard task because many battered women never knew if they were going to battered. They experienced anguish trying to determine the attitude of their abusive spouses. In practical inquiry, Kacen would have to see the everyday communication and interaction between the man and woman. The purpose of this would be for the researcher to attach meaning to abuse. This step would be hard because the man would have to agree with Kacen to be present at opportune moments. The final inquiry is emancipatory. This inquiry is beyond the controlling aspect of technical inquiry and the understanding of practical inquiry. Emancipatory inquiry is to offer an escape. It would be easier for Kacen to acknowledge this type of inquiry as she tries to free her seven captors of abuse.

Kacen’s article is saddening. In many ways it is sickening. You never know how good you have it until you wear the shoes of another person. Live their lives, through their eyes and through their experiences. No person should ever have to experience what these seven women endured. When you look at the titles these women chose as their life titles you see negative words in each one: distressed, hell, violent, war, cruel, suffering, and bad luck. Kacen’s use of qualitative research has enabled her to use Super codes to account for their life stories. The most appropriate philosophy is using a phenomenological approach because it requires the researcher to perceive the world through the eyes of the victim. An Ethnographical study would not be appropriate because it requires actual observation, and not the bruises and tears after.

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